What Does a Peroxidase Enzyme Do?

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins that function in a manner to biologically accelerate the chemical reaction of the cells of certain substances. During this process, the enzymes themselves aren’t altered in any way during the process and they remain in the same, exact form. Since the enzymes are not changed in any way while acting as catalysts, they’re able to be used repeatedly with no negative effects. Enzymes are necessary for just about every biological process in life, and without them, most organisms would be unable to function properly, if at all.

The human body contains many enzymes that help the body to function optimally. For instance, the liver has four enzymes that must all remain at adequate levels in order for the liver to continue properly filtering out toxins and perform the numerous other tasks that it is responsible for performing. If any of these four liver enzymes are elevated, then this can possibly indicate liver damage of some sort or even liver disease. 

What is a peroxidase enzyme?

There are many different kinds of enzymes that are responsible for maintaining the lives of numerous organisms, and the peroxidase enzyme is found in humans, plants, and many other organisms. The function of this particular enzyme is to break down the byproduct of using oxygen for breathing, which we know as hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a toxin that attacks bacteria, while a diluted version of hydrogen peroxide is used to treat minor wounds and prevent them from becoming infected. Many households have a bottle of 3 % or 5% hydrogen peroxide in their medicine cabinets to use on minor wounds and scrapes. 

What are some other uses for hydrogen peroxide?

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is a dilution of 35% hydrogen peroxide and 65% water. It is referred to as food grade because it’s safe to use for the natural preservation of food, as a mouth wash for toothpaste, for soaking dentures, and more. However, despite the fact that food-grade hydrogen peroxide can be used on the body, on food, and in the mouth, it must not be ingested because even a small amount could result in possible death. When food-grade hydrogen peroxide reaches the stomach, it quickly releases 1 1/2 quarts of gas into the stomach, which can cause the stomach to distend and even explode in extreme cases. The ingestion of food-grade hydrogen peroxide could even lead to a heart attack or stroke due to the development of a gas embolism.

Hydrogen peroxide is also a potent cleanser, and it can kill germs and bacteria on various surfaces all over the house. By mixing equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide, a person can effectively disinfect the kitchen, bathroom, and any other room in the home or office. 

Hydrogen peroxide as rocket fuel?

Hydrogen peroxide is very effective when used as rocket fuel, and Russian space programs have been using hydrogen peroxide as their main propellant for more than ten years. However, in order to propel a rocket, hydrogen peroxide must be considerably more concentrated than your typical bottle purchased from the drug store. Even food-grade hydrogen peroxide isn’t condensed enough to be used as rocket fuel, as the ideal level of concentration needs to be above 90%. 

Unlike traditional rocket fuels that must be ignited so they will burn in order to launch a rocket, hydrogen peroxide does not require burning, as it works in a different way. The hydrogen peroxide is placed in a pressurized container along with nitrogen, and silver is added due to its ability to act as a catalyst. This leads to the formation of a great deal of heat and steam, which is what enables the rocket to be propelled. 

How to obtain peroxidase enzyme for learning purposes?

In order to obtain peroxidase enzymes to be used for biology experiments, an instructor can easily use the extract of turnips because this extract contains adequate amounts of the peroxide enzyme. There are even various enzymes that are sold in stores and online, but instructors must ensure that they choose the proper enzyme, or the experiment will fail to work.

How do peroxidase enzymes break down hydrogen peroxide?

Without peroxidase enzymes, hydrogen peroxide is able to be broken down, but at a much slower rate. However, once peroxidase enzymes are added, the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide is accelerated. Why would a person want to break down hydrogen peroxide? Despite the fact that hydrogen peroxide can have many positive uses, in certain situations, it can be highly oxidative, which means that it can enhance the flammability of other substances, despite the fact that it isn’t a flammable liquid itself.

Once peroxidase enzymes are added to hydrogen peroxide, these enzymes begin immediately reverting this highly oxidative liquid to water and oxygen. Like other enzymes, peroxidase enzymes work to break down hydrogen peroxide by quickly lowering the energy of activation. 

Experiments with hydrogen peroxide 

Many students may find it difficult to understand certain biological processes unless they’re able to see them in action, and luckily, hydrogen peroxide is a relatively stable liquid that is not combustible unless it’s used to enrich the combustion of other substances. There are a number of experiments that students can participate in that will help them to better understand the process of peroxidase enzymes breaking down hydrogen peroxide. 

There are many ways to teach modern biology to students in a manner that makes it extremely interesting as well as fun. The more interesting an instructor can make the subject, the more involved the students will become and the more they will learn. If you’re teaching the subject of peroxidase enzymes in plants, it’s very important to ensure that you’re locating interesting experiments and lesson plans to further explain this powerful enzyme to them. Being hands-on and participating in experiments can help your students to see the process in action, which enhances their overall learning experience in so many ways.

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