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The Effects of pH on the Function of Catalase.

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Amanda Rosen November 5, 2002 Biology The Effects of pH on the Function of Catalase Introduction: Hydrogen peroxide is a toxic compound produced by living organisms. Under normal conditions these organisms also produce an enzyme that quickly changes hydrogen peroxide into two harmless substances, oxygen and water. However, the function of the enzyme is affected by changes in the environment. Our knowledge of the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide and the function of enzymes is leading to a variety of applications, from treating influenza patients to testing for properly cooked poultry. Purpose: What is the effect of altering the pH on the function of catalase? Hypothesis: When altering the pH of a catalase it will speed up the reaction rate of the catalase. ...read more.


9. Cover the potato slices in cup 5 with soda. 10. Determine the pH of the solution in each cup by holding a piece of pH paper with forceps and dipping it into the liquid. Use a new piece of pH paper for each solution. Record the pH in Table 1. 11.Measure exactly 5 ml of hydrogen peroxide in a graduated cylinder and add it to each container. 12.Observe each container for three minutes before you record your observations in Table 1. You are making qualitative measurements for this activity. Positive (+) indicates that a reaction is observed; negative (-) means that a reaction is not observed. Observations: Table 1: Results of a study of the effects of pH on enzyme behavior. ...read more.


The tests at the extreme pH values (acetic acid and sodium hydroxide) produced negative results while the other tests were positive. Application of principles Conclusions: 1. State the pH range in which catalase can decompose hydrogen peroxide. The damaged cells around the wound release catalase (or some similar enzyme). The unbroken skin around the wound does not release catalase. 2. What environmental factors affect the rate at which an enzyme functions? Since catalase is present at the site of a skin wound, hydrogen peroxide is being decomposed rapidly. Surfaces do not have enzymes and so the hydrogen peroxide lasts longer and can more effectively kill any bacteria in the area. 3. How does the protein portion of an enzyme affect the behavior of the enzyme? Enzyme action is affected by the pH of the environment. The result of the acetic acid test shows that a low pH prevents an enzyme from functioning. ...read more.

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