Varying PH Levels and Their Affect on an Enzymes Rate of Reaction

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VARYING PH LEVELS AND THEIR AFFECT ON AN ENZYMES RATE OF REACTION I. INTRODUCTION Before taking this class, proteins were just something we received from certain foods that helped us to build muscles. Something you would need to eat a lot of if you were a body builder, or someone who exercised a lot. While this is all true to some degree, it is only a small part of the truth about proteins. The truth is, none of the cells of the body can survive if they are lacking in their supply of protein. In fact, proteins make up about 20 percent of a cells’ mass. The hormones responsible for regulating our metabolism are proteins. Cell walls, various membranes, connective tissue, and muscles are mainly protein (Miller and Keane, 1972) All of the roles performed by proteins are essential to life as we know it. However, the most important role of a protein is by far an enzyme. Enzymes are substances, most often protein in nature, that initiate and accelerate chemical reactions that are responsible for a number of vital processes in life. (Miller and Keane, 1972) In order to perform such chemical reactions the enzyme needs a reactant. The reactant that an enzyme acts upon is called a substrate. The substrate(s) fit into little pocket(s) on the enzyme, called the active site(s). Once the enzyme and substrate are joined, the shape of the enzyme changes. This newly formed shape determines which specific reaction the enzyme will catalyze, thus determining its’ function within the cell. Each enzyme has certain conditions under which it is best able to function. One of the things that can alter their performance is PH. The term PH actually means, potential for hydrogen, and has to do with the concentration of hydrogen ions in a given solution, or body of fluid. On a scale from 0-14 where 7 is neutral, anything below 7 is considered acidic, and anything above 7 is

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