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Ben Holdsworth

How temperature affects the decomposition of H2O2 using Catalase, using yeast as a catalyst.
In my investigation I will find how temperature affects the decomposition of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide). I will add yeast to a test tube of H2O2, and then I will see how much oxygen is given off. Then I will vary the temperature, and see how much my results differ. Hydrogen Peroxide makes water and oxygen. When yeast is added, the enzyme Catalase will speed up the chemical reaction. Here is the formula.


H2O + O2

A Catalase is a protein catalyst. It reduces the activation energy of all reactants, without being absorbed or involved in the reaction (wiki answers). This basically means that the reaction can happen faster. In our case yeast is our Catalase, and will make the reaction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) complete faster.

This reaction is called a catabolic reaction, this means that the H202 molecule splits into two molecules, H20 and O2. When this reaction occurs, specific shapes and sizes are needed so that the two reactants can react. This can be explained using the lock and key theory. All enzymes are specific.

The specific action of an enzyme with a single substrate can be explained using a Lock and Key analogy first postulated in 1894 by Emil Fischer. In this analogy, the lock is the enzyme and the key is the substrate. Only the correctly sized key (substrate) fits into the key hole (active site) of the lock (enzyme) ( hembook/571lockkey.html)

Ben Holdsworth

In my investigation I will see how temperature affects the rate of decomposition of H2O2. I think that there will be a positive correlation between temperature and the decomposition of H2O2, meaning the higher the temperature, the quicker the reaction The rate of decomposition increases at higher temperature because kinetic energy increases with temperature. Kinetic energy, when involved in a reaction, increases the energy of the substance. This means that the molecules will move around a lot more. As they are moving faster the chances of collision are increased. This means that the faster the molecules move, the greater the chance of collision, thus leading to a faster reaction. As catalyse is an enzyme, it has an optimum temperature and will denature at a specific temperature, denaturing in our case will be due to an increase in temperature If the shape of the enzyme changes, its active site may no longer work. We say the enzyme has been denatured. They can be denatured by high temperatures. (BBC bitesize). Denaturing can also apply to a change in pH; this will also affect the shape of the enzyme. Of course the H2O2 will decompose fastest at its optimum temperature; this is when the molecules react with each other quickest, at this temperature, the chemicals work together at their best. In the bodys cells the optimum temperature is 37 degrees (Wiki). I think our reaction wont be far off our bodies, so I estimate that our investigations optimum temperature will be close. I think that as the reaction gets to a certain temperature, the reaction will decrease (denaturing), as this is true, I can say the graph will look something like this-

My experiment

Ben Holdsworth

In order to keep this a fair test I need to keep some things a constant, these will includeAmount of H2O2 used: 40 millilitres. Using different amounts of H2O2 would give of different amounts of O2 (oxygen). Concentration of H2O2: The higher the concentration of the H2O2, the more likely the atoms will collide, and vice versa. Yeast used: 1 gram. The more yeast added the more reactions that will take place, due to a larger volume of yeast, this would affect our results. The timings: 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 120 seconds I tried to keep the apparatus the same; it would cause small variation in my results if I used different apparatus each time. The only variable that will change is the temperature, because we are researching how temperature affects the rate of reaction of H2O2 and yeast, changing anything else would make it an unfair test. Apparatus I will use the following in my experiment: Retort Stand Pipette Delivery tube with bung Boiling tube 50mm measuring cylinder 40 ml of H2O2, volume strength- 10 1g of yeast * number of repeats Large measuring cylinder Test tube rack Large Beaker Water bath Basin full of water Method You will need all your equipment prepared before you begin you experiment. Put the 500 ml measuring cylinder upside down in the basin (fill cylinder full with water). Put the H2O2 in a boiling tube, then inside your water bath Connect one end of the delivery tube to the top of the H2O2 boiling tube, and the other, inside the 500 ml measuring cylinder. Add the yeast, start the stopwatch simultaneously, and see how much oxygen fills up the measuring cylinder. Repeat process for different volumes, temperatures, amounts etc

Ben Holdsworth

Here is a rough picture I made of my experimentDelivery tube Boiling tube with H2O2

Oxygen (O2)

O2 bubbles

Water bath



My results

Time Volume O2 Volume O2 (seconds) given off (mm) given off 30 degrees 40 degrees

Volume O2 given off 50 degreed

Volume O2 given off 60 degrees

Volume O2 given off 70 degrees

Repeat 30 60 90 120

1 30

2 80 60

3 50 110 60

130 150 120 140 170 130 170 190 150 140 100 90

230 210 140 150 270 160 250 320 280 150 200 250 80

260 240 220 340 250 330 270 340 290 250 350 290 120 80

300 280 240 360 300 390 270 250 310 260 210 280 150 140 60

From my results I can see that the optimum temperature is about 40(ish) degrees. I can see this because thats the point where the most o2 is made. Any outliers included in my results, I removed from my averages. These are marked in yellow.

Ben Holdsworth

Here is a table of averages;

Time (seconds) 30 60 90 120 Conclusion

30 degrees 133 193 240 273

40 degrees 146 155 306 350

50 degrees 170 283 300 276

60 degrees 330 200 296 336

70 degrees 53 83 86 116

From my results I can now say that the optimum temperature is about 40 degrees, so my prediction was correct. According to the kinetic theory, the most O2 given off should be at 70 degrees, because its the highest. As I have already mentioned, due to the high temperature, the substance will denature, ie change shape etc This is the cause for the odd pattern in my results. Evaluation There were some faults with my results, which if I am to repeat, would improve them. One being that during the short period from the time the yeast is added, to the time the bung is added to the top of the tube, a small amount of O2 is lost. Im not quite sure how to improve on this small fault, except for using more scientific equipment which may i not be able to acquire from my school. Using more precision is an obvious, like using better weighing scales, measuring equipment etc This would improve the precision of my results. I would also use more temperature points, to make my optimum temperature estimate more accurate.

Ben Holdsworth