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Experiment to investigate the effect of surface area on the rate of reaction.

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Biology AT 1 - Experiment to investigate the effect of surface area on the rate of reaction. Introduction. Enzymes are proteins that behave like as biological catalysts. They are produced inside the cells of the body. It can never be exhausted and is usually used many times. There are two types of reaction that can occur, anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic involves the creation of a complex molecule from simpler molecules (e.g. glucose, for storage, is turned into starch for later use, in plants): However, catabolic is the directly opposite reaction, breaking complex molecules into simpler ones (e.g. protease enzymes turn proteins into amino acids): This theory is called the "lock and key" because it shows how the enzymes are specific to what they can/cannot break down or make molecules. Therefore only one enzyme is able to break/make a molecule due to its structure. Equally, this occurs with the substrate, Catalase. The gap is known as the active site as it is unique to its purpose. Catalase, as it is very specific, is the only enzyme which is able to break down the substance Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2). This substance is poisonous and is produced by the body from other reactions; therefore it is important to be rid of this toxin. The only way is by producing Catalase which breaks the H2O2 down into oxygen and water: Catalase 2 H2O2 2 H2O + O2 For this experiment, I will be investigating this enzyme, not from the body but in potatoes as H2O2 is also produced from cellular reactions. ...read more.


This experiment had also been completed within the time limit given. Therefore it should be able to be repeated easily. It also has shown the most effective time for the reaction to take place and the amount of H2O2 that should be used. The lengths are easy to measure without any complications. This method is very efficient in getting a good range of results. This is a brief method of what will occur: * Bore 5 potato chips. * Measure with ruler and cut equal length. * Split them accordingly. * Place chips into H2O2. * Use stopwatch to time reaction. * After a certain time, record the O2 gained in cylinder. * Repeat twice to obtain 3 sets of results and increase accuracy. This represents the general shape of the graph made from preliminary work: From this I can predict that: * As the number of parts increases/the length decreases, the amount of O2 released increases - because there is a larger surface area, providing more active sites for reactions to occur. * Therefore the number of parts is proportional to the amount of O2 release. * This prediction could be quantitative. Therefore if I double the parts I should obtain double the volume in the 240 seconds given. Obtaining Evidence. Detailed Method. * Using a Borer size 5 bore out 5 potato chips. * Setup the apparatus as shown in the diagram. * Measure them uniformly (3cm) ...read more.


You may accidentally heat up equipment, such as test tubes when you experiment on them, thus maybe speeding up the rate at which the enzyme works. This could be avoided by minimal touching of equipment. The temperature of room was varied from 18o - 25o C, having an effect on the overall result. The froth/bubbles coming up off the surface from accidental shaking would speed up the reaction, as you are giving the molecules kinetic energy to react successfully together. This can be stopped by being careful not to shake or if you are shaking, shake on every test that is carried out. There is air that is already trapped in the tube, so that might add an extra few cm3 to the recording, altering the result. For method modification, I may choose to elongate the time given to 5 minutes as 4 minutes may not be long enough, with the sufficient amount of time. Using different types of bore size would back up this theory or comparing these results with another set of 3 but using a different sort of potato. Having an increased range of results will increase the accuracy by a lot. Investigating different variables will vary the theories made from other results, such as the temperature or the concentration of enzymes/substrates. Overall, the experiment went smoothly but I feel that the downfall was in the accuracy of the time, and the lack of equipment involved measuring even more accurately. Although there are flaws, next time, I will be more accurate, taking into account these factors but my conclusion believe, is reliable and true, even though I had one anomalous result. ...read more.

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