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Bring Your Biology Lessons to Life

From cellular biology to human physiology, get your students excited about biology using Vernier technology. Our sensors, software, and investigations help biology students explore phenomena, develop their understanding of living organisms, and encourage scientific curiosity. Work with our team to implement high-quality sensors, experiments, and technology solutions into your classroom or laboratory and set up your students for success in science and beyond.

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Featured Biology Experiments

Photosynthesis and Respiration (CO2 and O2)

Plants make sugar, storing the energy of the sun into chemical energy, by the process of photosynthesis. When they require energy, they can tap the stored energy in sugar by a process called cellular respiration.

The process of photosynthesis involves the use of light energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar, oxygen, and other organic compounds. This process is often summarized by the following reaction:

{\text{6 }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O }} + {\text{ 6 C}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}} + {\text{ light energy}} \to {{\text{C}}_{\text{6}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{6}}} + {\text{ 6 }}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}

Cellular respiration refers to the process of converting the chemical energy of organic molecules into a form immediately usable by organisms. Glucose may be oxidized completely if sufficient oxygen is available by the following equation:

{{\text{C}}_{\text{6}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{6}}} + {\text{ 6 }}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}} \to {\text{6 }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O }} + {\text{ 6 C}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}} + {\text{ energy}}

All organisms, including plants and animals, oxidize glucose for energy. Often, this energy is used to convert ADP and phosphate into ATP.

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Cell Respiration (CO2)

Cell respiration refers to the process of converting the chemical energy of organic molecules into a form immediately usable by organisms. Glucose may be oxidized completely if sufficient oxygen is available by the following equation:

{{\text{C}}_{\text{6}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{6}}}{\text{ + 6 }}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{(g)}} \to {\text{6 }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O + 6 C}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{(g) + energy}}

All organisms, including plants and animals, oxidize glucose for energy. Often, this energy is used to convert ADP and phosphate into ATP. It is known that peas undergo cell respiration during germination. Do peas undergo cell respiration before germination? The results of this experiment will verify that germinating peas do respire. Using your collected data, you will be able to answer the question concerning respiration and non-germinating peas.

Using the CO2 Gas Sensor, you will monitor the carbon dioxide produced by peas during cell respiration. Both germinating and non-germinating peas will be tested. Additionally, cell respiration of germinating peas at two different temperatures will be tested.

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Enzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity

Many organisms can decompose hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) enzymatically. Enzymes are globular proteins, responsible for most of the chemical activities of living organisms. They act as catalysts, substances that speed up chemical reactions without being destroyed or altered during the process. Enzymes are extremely efficient and may be used over and over again. One enzyme may catalyze thousands of reactions every second. Both the temperature and the pH at which enzymes function are extremely important. Most organisms have a preferred temperature range in which they survive, and their enzymes most likely function best within that temperature range. If the environment of the enzyme is too acidic or too basic, the enzyme may irreversibly denature, or unravel, until it no longer has the shape necessary for proper functioning.

H2O2 is toxic to most living organisms. Many organisms are capable of enzymatically destroying the H2O2 before it can do much damage. H2O2 can be converted to oxygen and water, as follows:

2{\text{ }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}} \to {\text{2 }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O + }}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}

Although this reaction occurs spontaneously, enzymes increase the rate considerably. At least two different enzymes are known to catalyze this reaction: catalase, found in animals and protists, and peroxidase, found in plants. A great deal can be learned about enzymes by studying the rates of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

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Energy in Food

Food supplies energy for all animals—without it we could not live. The quantity of energy stored in food is of great interest to humans. The energy your body needs for running, talking, and thinking comes from the foods you eat. Not all foods contain the same amount of energy, nor are all foods equally nutritious for you. An average person should consume a minimum of 2,000 kilocalories per day. That is equivalent to 8,360 kilojoules. Calories and joules are both units of energy. We will use joules in this lab since it is the accepted SI metric standard.

You can determine energy content of food by burning a portion of it and capturing the heat released to a known amount of water. This technique is called calorimetry. The energy content of the food is the amount of heat produced by the combustion of 1 gram of a substance. It is measured in kilojoules per gram (kJ/g).

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Featured Software and Digital Curriculum

Vernier Graphical Analysis™ Pro

With the new Graphical Analysis™ Pro app, users can insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for inspection and analysis. This app is perfect for engaging students—either remotely or in the lab—in more advanced analysis of data from biology, chemistry, and physics experiments.

Lt by ADInsruments

Lt for Biology, developed in partnership with Vernier, covers concepts including enzyme action, spectrophotometry, photosynthesis, and pH.

Pivot Interactives

Pivot Interactives is a powerful solution for remote learning, enabling students to vary experimental parameters one at a time to view results from a set of many recordings of the same experiment.

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