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Research Task Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Introduction (Rationale)

I have chosen this topic because enzymes are an essential part of human’s everyday life. We, as humans, produce more than 10 000 enzymes and each one has its own unique and specific use in our body. Most of those enzymes are used in our metabolism and, being a fitness maniac, I am very interested to know how my metabolism works and how it differs from others. I will be doing quantitative research on the enzyme.

Enzymes need a suitable environment in which they need to be to function correctly; if these conditions are not, the enzyme could become inactive or denature which could lead to serious health implications and possibly death. It is thus very important to determine these conditions if we are to get a better understanding of the enzymatic functions inside our body.

Sub Questions

1. What is the optimum temperature at which salivary amylase functions?
2. Does salivary amylase work faster on different types of starch?
3. What temperature must the substrate be for the enzyme to do its job?
4. Does temperature affect the functioning of salivary amylase in the digestion process

Literature Review

Enzymes:
Enzymes are biological catalysts which lower the activation energy need to carry out a reaction. Without these enzymes, we would be unable to metabolise. Thus enzymes are very important for our survival. Enzymes have an optimum temperature and optimum pH at which they are most active and most effective. These temperatures are between 32̊ C and 40̊ C. The optimum pH of an enzyme is between 6,5 pH and 7,5 pH. Enzymes are only able to catalyse specific reactions and specific substrates. This is called the “Lock and Key” theory. A substrate fits into its specific enzyme like a key would a lock. This is where the activation energy is lowered in order to break down the substrate. The substrate is then broken down into smaller molecules which our body can then absorb. The name ‘amylase’ is the name typically given to enzymes that break down starch.

When rice is eaten by humans, our salivary glands secrete an enzyme called amylase. Amylase, however, can only digest starch which is abundant in cooked white rice. The digestion process only begins again once the stomach content is passed into the first section of the first intestine where more amylase is made available due to the pancreas that secretes it once the contents has passed through the stomach.

Polymers of carbohydrates are called polysaccharides. They have thousands of monosaccharides linked together by oxygen bridges. Some of these polymers are: starch, glycogen and cellulose. All three yield glucose when completely broken down.

Starch obtained by animals is stored in the body as glycogen. Digestive processes in body plants and animals convert starch to glucose which is used as an energy supply.

The activity of amylase in the mouth can vary from person to person but most people do have some sort of salivary amylase activity.

Further studies show that...

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