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As you read this, there are thousands of chemical reactions occurring in your body at extremely fast rates. But when the speed of these chemical reactions is tested in a lab—instead of a body—these reactions are noticeably much slower. One might question, why is there a difference in speed? What does a lab environment lack that our body does not? The answer to these questions would be: enzymes.
An enzyme is a biological substance that acts as a catalyst in a living organism.
It regulates the rates at which chemical reactions occur. Enzymes focus on catalyzing all aspects of cell metabolism. This includes digestion of food, the conservation and transformation of chemical energy, and the construction of cellular macromolecules. Without enzymes, many of these reactions would not occur at a detectible rate. (Britannica 2018).
In this experiment, we will be adding an enzyme called Bacterial Alkaline Phosphatase (BAP) to test a series of things. First, we will be testing if BAP affect the rate of pNpp to pNp.
Which means, will BAP catalyze one of the phosphate groups of pNpp and turn it into pNp. Next, we will test if different pH’s affect BAP’s activity by increasing the rate of reaction. Lastly, we will test at what temperature will BAP start to decrease the rate of reaction.
My hypothesis for the first experiment is that BAP will affect the rate in which pNpp loses one of its phosphate groups because without an enzyme like BAP these changes are not perceptible.
BAP will affect the rate of pNpp to pNp by increasing the rate of reaction and making the changes noticeable. For the second experiment, my hypothesis is that different pH’s will affect BAP’s activity by increasing the rate of reaction. Different pH’s affect the rate of reaction of an enzyme by changing it shapes to make it functional. Very high or very low pH’s can overall affect the enzyme by making it ineffective. For the last experiment, my hypothesis is that at 90 degrees Celsius the rate of reaction will begin to decrease because from my prior knowledge enzymes become ineffective after being exposed to some extreme temperature.
No changes were made to the materials or methods:
For the first experiment, I accept my hypothesis that BAP will affect the rate in which pNpp loses one phosphate group that turns it into pNp. The data in the first graph clearly supports the hypothesis because once the enzyme was added to the solution the rate of reaction prominently began to increase.
For the second experiment, I accept my hypothesis that different pH’s do affect BAP’s activity by increasing the rate of reaction. The second set of data shows different pH’s affects BAP’s activity by having different increasing rates of reactions.
For the last experiment, I rejected my stated hypothesis that at 90 degrees Celsius the rate of reaction will begin to decrease because the data in the last graph clearly shows that at 90 degrees Celsius the rate of reaction continued increasing.
After performing this experiment, I learned how enzymes function and the rate in which they perform their job. I realized how different factors change their rate of activity. For example, I realized how increasing the pH also increases the rate of reaction of the enzyme. Not every enzyme reacts the same to certain pH’s, but where the enzyme is most active is known as the optimum pH. pH is known to affect the shape and rate in which enzymes function and I was able to observe this in my experiment. I was shocked to see that under extreme temperatures, such as 90 degrees Celsius, the enzyme did not begin to denature; instead, it increased its rate of reaction. I wonder if because the enzyme was tested in a lab environment maybe that had some effect on its denaturing process. So, a question I would like to test is: At what temperature does an enzyme begin to denature? My hypothesis is that at 100 degrees Celsius, in a lab environment, the enzyme will begin to denature.
If I were to do something different in this lab, I would have liked to have seen for myself how extreme temperatures can change the rate of reaction of an enzyme. I would have like to have tested how much higher the temperature had to be for the BAP to denature and how slow the rate of activity can become. I would have tested this by increasing the temperature of the water bath and recorded at what temperature the rate of reaction began to decrease. I would have also like to have tested at what pH level does the enzyme also begin to denature. From the data, at the pH level 10, the rate of activity seemed to be significantly greater than the rest of the pH’s which possibly suggests that it was at the optimum pH. I predict that one pH higher could have caused the enzyme to break down. I could test this by increasing the pH level and seen if the rate of activity begins to decrease.
The data acquired shows that increasing the pH and temperature will also increase the rate of reaction which relates to the introduction. We could see that a reaction was beginning to occur from the color change resulting from the loss of a phosphate group. Due to the enzyme being a catalyst, these changes were possible to observe and record.
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