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Science Lab - Understanding Enzymes

             An investigation was conducted to determine the relationship between catalase activity and changes in pH, surface area, and cell type. Three hypotheses were tested to define this relationship:.
             1. The reaction rate of the enzyme, catalase, will be greatest at its optimum pH of 7.
             2. Increasing the surface area by crushing each cell type will increase the catalase activity.
             3. The liver, and chicken breast animal cells will have greater catalase activity than the potato, and apple plant cells.
             Samples of animal and plant tissues, liver and chicken breast, and apple and potato respectively were treated with varying pH levels of hydrogen peroxide. To determine the reaction rate, the level of foam produced from each tube was measured as an indication of the amount of oxygen produced in each enzymatic reaction. From the evidence obtained, none of the three hypotheses could be supported.
             To understand the effect of enzymes, it is important to recognise the relationship between enzymes and activation energy. Enzymes are biological catalysts, meaning they speed up a reaction. Enzymes lower the activation energy of a reaction, the amount of energy that must be put into the reaction before it can take place.1 For an enzyme to work to its full potential, it must be placed in ideal conditions. The most predominant factors that influence the effectiveness of an enzyme are temperature and pH, and thus each enzyme has an optimum temperature and pH. Catalase, an enzyme found most commonly in liver tissue, is responsible for the breakdown of the toxic substance hydrogen peroxide into the compounds water and oxygen, which are not harmful and even beneficial to most organisms. The chemical equation for the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide can be seen below:.
             2H2O2  2H2O + O2.
             The purpose of this investigation was to investigate the effect that catalase has on a reaction, and discover the relationship between the enzyme and specific tissues.

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