Pepsin and Protein Essay

Pepsin and Protein Essay

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Pepsin and Protein


Is the rate at which Pepsin digests protein affected by temperature?


I predict that it is affected by temperature. The optimum temperature
will be between 30°C and 40°C. This is because the average human body
temperature is 37°C. At 0-20°C (which includes the groups 0-10 and
10-20) the pepsin will not digest the protein for a long time. This is
because it is a too cold environment for the enzyme to work most
effectively and quickly. At 20-30°C the pepsin will work slightly more
quickly than at 0-20, but not as well as at 30-40, because it is
reaching the optimum temperature, though it is not quite there yet.

At the higher temperatures (i.e. 40-70°C) the enzymes will not work as
well. You may think that, using the pattern up to 30-40°C, the higher
the temperature, the quicker pepsin works. But this is not the case
because when it gets too hot, the enzymes start to lose their shape.
Enzymes use a very precise "lock and key" method to digest food. For
example pepsin, which is a protease enzyme, has a shape exclusive for
digesting protein molecules, and as soon as it changes its shape (in
this case due to heat) it cannot digest the molecule it was originally
designed to digest. Once it has changed shape it cannot change back
again. The "lock and key" is demonstrated below with diagrams.

The pepsin molecule locks onto the Glucose molecules are very

glucose molecule and breaks it complex but they still need

down into smaller particles. specially designed enzymes

that fit the molecules perfectly

to break them down.

If the temperature is too high and the enzyme changes ...

... middle of paper ...

pepsin works quickest in. (see prediction).

The independent variable will be the temperature range - 0-70°C in
jumps of 10°C.This is what to change for the investigation. Nothing
else must change, because then it would be an unfair test. The
dependant variable will be the rate at which pepsin digests the egg
white suspension - in other words how long the mixture takes to go
clear. This will give you the results. For a fair test the controlled
variables will be the amount of egg white suspension (25cm²), the
amount of pepsin (5cm²) and the amount of hydrochloric acid (5 drops
from the pipette) used. Also how often the mixture is checked will be
a controlled variable. To make the results as accurate and reliable as
possible, each temperature range will be repeated 5 times, and an
average will be taken.

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