Hydrogen peroxide is a poisonous chemical that is continually formed as a by-product of chemical reactions in living things. Since hydrogen peroxide is poisonous to the cell, the cell needs to remove it immediately or the cell will die. The enzyme catalase is produced by cells to speed up the breakdown the poisonous H2O2 into the two safe and harmless compounds, H2O + O2.
In this lab, students will work with living animal tissue (calves' liver) and living plant tissue (potato). All of the cells of these tissues contain the enzyme catalase. Students will expose two catalysts (inorganic manganese dioxide, organic catalase) to hydrogen peroxide in 14 test tubes. There are five different "experiments" based on their effect on the breakdown of Hydrogen Peroxide: (1) Inorganic substances & H2O2, (2) Effect of temperature on Enzyme Activity, (3) Effect of the concentration of enzyme on Enzyme activity, (4) Effect of pH, and (5) Which gets used up? The enzyme or the substrate? (ANSWERS to ALL questions are highlighted in BLUE at end of lab.)