“The Effect of pH levels on Reaction Rates”

Topics: PH / Pages: 4 (905 words) / Published: Feb 18th, 2014
Abstract The catalysis of enzymes within our bodies is essential for human survival and when this ability is impaired by the presence of Hydrogen ions, our cells cannot function properly. This experiment was conducted to determine if the reaction rate changes in response to a variation of acidic, neutral, and basic solutions. The experimental results indicated that the basic/high pH solution has a faster rate of reaction in the solution. Introduction Enzymes are proteins that catalyze and convert molecules into combinations of other molecules which is necessary for the functions of human life. These enzymes are affected in the presence of a high concentration of Hydrogen ions resulting in a disruption of the tertiary structure of these enzymes. Due to this disruption, the enzyme can no longer catalyze reactions. The concentration of hydrogen ions is measured by the pH scale, ranging from 0-14 and “describes the negative logarithm (base 10) of the number of moles of Hydrogen ions in a liter of solution” (Clarina, 1991). A solution that is highly acidic has a higher concentration of Hydrogen ions and a low pH. A more basic solution has a lower concentration and therefore a higher pH, whereas a neutral solution has a pH closer to 7. There are many different internal factors that can cause harm to our bodies, sometimes eliciting such a response that it can cause irreversible damage. The focus of this experiment was the reaction rates of catalase of three different pH levels in solution. The concentration of Hydrogen ions will determine the level of pH which will either speed up or slow down the rate of reaction which results in the disruption of the tertiary structure of the enzyme. It seems reasonable that, based on a sliding scale, the lower pH would result in a slower reaction rate and the higher pH would have the fastest time with the neutral solution falling somewhere in the middle. Therefore the hypothesis of this experiment is that the tertiary


References: Clariana, R.B. 1991. pH and the rate of enzymatic reactions. The American Biology Teacher, 53: 349-350

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