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Biology Coursework

Title: Catalase: The effect of temperature on Beef Liver and Potato catalase action.
Research: All enzymes are proteins, meaning that they are polymers of amino acids. Their tertiary structure gives them a globular form due to the bonding present in the molecule. Many types of bonds hold the structure together and in the right shape. They strongest of these are the di-sulphide bridges between two cysteine amino acids. Also present are hydrogen bonds, although singly week when many are present the bond is strong. In addition are hydrophobic non-polar R-groups which by pointing to the middle of the molecule act as a bonding force.
Catalase, like all enzymes, is a biological catalyst. Catalase is an enzyme that speeds up the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2).

2H2O2--------catalase--------------> 2H2O + O2

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a poisonous byproduct of metabolism that can damage cells if it is not removed.

“Catalase is an example of a particularly efficient enzyme.   Catalase has one of the highest turnover numbers for all known enzymes (40,000,000 molecules/second).  This high rate shows an importance for the enzymes capability for detoxifying hydrogen peroxide and preventing the formation of carbon dioxide bubbles in the blood

The main properties of enzymes are as follows:
They generally work very rapidly
They are not destroyed by the reaction which they catalyse.
They can work in either direction
They are inactivated by high temperatures.
They are sensitive to pH
They are usually specific to particular reactions

It is affected by the following factors:

pH – The precise three-dimensional molecular shape which is vital to the functioning of enzymes is partly the result of hydrogen bonding. These bonds may be broken by the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) present. pH is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration. It is measured on a scale of 1-14, with pH 7 being the neutral point....

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