Preparing enzyme extracts for your laboratory activity or demonstration can be messy and time-consuming, and it often leads to results that vary. With this in mind, the Biology Departments at Vernier and Flinn Scientific partnered to develop two simple solutions for teachers who want better results when performing experiments with enzymes.
Many teachers use our O2 Gas Sensor or Gas Pressure Sensor to study the enzyme catalase. The enzyme is often purified from fresh liver, although a yeast suspension can be used. We have found the biggest obstacle to getting reliable results is the source of the enzyme. You will get much better results if you use purified catalase, which can be purchased directly from Flinn Scientific (Catalog Number C0359). This contains more than enough for multiple classes and can easily be used in both inquiry and non-inquiry activities. In addition, if your students want to investigate the effect of substrate concentration on this enzyme, they will need something stronger than the 3% hydrogen peroxide commonly found in the grocery store. Flinn Scientific also sells 6% hydrogen peroxide (Catalog Number H0028). For instructions on how to use catalase and other tricks for getting good results with enzyme activities, see Tips and Tricks for Success with Inquiry-Based Enzyme Activities.
Another great inquiry-based enzyme activity from Flinn Scientific is the Peroxidase Enzyme Activity—Advanced Inquiry Laboratory Kit (Catalog Number FB2039). The enzyme for this activity is easily isolated from turnips and is very stable at room temperature. This kit uses a colorimetric assay, so you can use our Colorimeter or SpectroVis Plus to quickly determine reaction rates. Students can investigate the effect of pH on an enzyme because the kit includes various pH buffer capsules. For instructions on how to use this Flinn Scientific kit with the Colorimeter or SpectroVis Plus, see Use a SpectroVis Plus or Colorimeter to Monitor Turnip Peroxidase.
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