Examine the structure and function of enzymes through the example of amylase

The cell is a dynamic system of interacting molecules that define life. An understanding of the workings of the cell enables an appreciation of both the capabilities and the limitations of living organisms.

In this unit students examine the structure and function of enzymes through the example of amylase. Amylase is an enzyme in the pancreas and salivary glands used in the breakdown of starch into simple sugars.

Throughout this session students will revise the hierarchal structure of proteins using 3D models, simulate enzymatic actions (including enzyme specificity, catabolic and anabolic enzymes, and the role of inhibitors) and investigate the effects of temperature and pH on amylase activity. To investigate the effects of temperature and pH on amylase, students create a standard concentration curve and use a UV spectrometer to measure the absorbance of solutions. This is a hands-on day for students focusing on the scientific practical work.

Student laboratory work and results are often used for assessment task work.

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