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Unformatted text preview: [Type text] Introduction This experiment was designed to investigate the following hypothesis: enzyme activity influences the rate of digestion. Enzymes are fairly large proteins that act as catalysts in many biological reactions; without them, many of the important processes of life (i.e. digestion) could not happen. They work by lowering activation energy (energy that must be overcome for a reaction to occur) of a reaction, which then dramatically increases the rate of the reaction. Enzyme activity is strongly affected when pH and temperature deviates from normal bodily range (pH=7.4, temperature=98.6 F). The shape of an enzyme is important for it to function properly; high temperatures or extreme pH values may affect the shape of enzyme molecules, causing the enzyme to denature which would, in turn, make it less effective and possibly even useless. In this experiment, we tested the effects environmental changes had on enzymes in the digestive system and their ability to catalyze a reaction. During digestion, the organic compounds found on the foods ingested are broken down by enzymes so that they can enter our cells, a process called hydrolysis. The organic compounds are grouped into four classes: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. During hydrolysis, bonds between monomers are broken by the addition of water molecules, thus breaking down the organic compounds which are called polymers (Campbell and Reece 2005). In this lab, we performed different tests using several chemical reagents to determine the presence of specific organic compounds in every day foods such as apples, potatoes and milk. Foods containing the compound being tested will undergo a specific color change. Following those tests, we tested the presence of the organic compounds in solutions containing enzymes at varying levels of pH and temperature. If the compound is present after the addition of the [Type text] enzymes then a color change will occur; if no change occurs then the compound was digested rapidly. If our hypothesis is supported, then the test-tubes containing enzymes that are within normal bodily range will digest the compounds fast enough to avoid a color change. Stressful conditions (i.e. heat/cold, acidic solutions) will cause the enzymes to be denatured and unable to catalyze the digestive reaction. Materials and Methods The entire lab consisted of three small, basic tests, and three larger ones. The test for determining the action of pancreatic enzymes on protein required the biggest time commitment so we began with it first and completed the remaining tests while we waited to continue it. Instead of explaining each test in the order they were performed, I will explain each one separately to make the process easier to understand....
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