Enzymes are biological molecules responsible for the thousands of chemical reactions that must occur to sustain life. They work as catalysts, helping to greatly accelerate the rate and specificity of metabolic reactions, in processes ranging from the digestion of food to the synthesis of DNA. Most enzymes are proteins (though some can be RNAs as well).
Enzymes serve many important functions, and without them, life would basically be nonexistent because even the most basic (and life sustaining) of chemical of reactions (i.e. the breakdown of sugar) could take hundreds of years to proceed.
In this conference, the goal is to give you a better understanding of the importance of enzymes, how they function and what factors affect their action (this is to help you prepare for your Final Applied Lab Project and the Lab Project Outline that is due at the end of Week 5 – note the similarities…). First, choose an enzyme (you’ve got thousands to choose from – though it may be easier to choose one of the better known ones, such as those involved in digestion). Next, collect some information on that particular enzyme (i.e., where it acts, what it acts on, what it produces). Third, design an experiment that will show the following:
1) The activity of the enzyme.
2) Factors that affect the action of the enzyme.
3) The effect of changing these factors (don’t forget to include a control for #2 & 3).
4) Try to predict what will happen.
And finally, answer the question “enzymes – do they really matter?”
(Note: there are many enzymes that are also found outside of the human body – such as in cleaning agents)
Please be sure to include your references in this week’s post.