The Essay

The Essay

Background Info
     Enzymes are a protein that catalyze, or accelerate, chemical reactions. They work by lowering the amount of energy needed for a reaction, causing the reaction to occur one million times faster. Enzyme activity is affected is affected by other molecules, pH, or temperature. There are 4,000 known reactions to be catalyzed by enzymes. Enzymes are found in places such as the human body, medications, and laundry detergents.

    The use of enzymes in laundry detergents allow for a lower temperature and a shorter period of agitation after a pre-soak. Enzyme detergents remove protein from dirty clothes better than a non-enzyme detergent. Only .4-.8% of your enzyme filled detergents are actually enzymes.

     Gelatin is basically processed collagen, which is a structural protein found in animal's connective tissue, skin, and bones. Collagen is composed of three polypeptide chains--glycerin, proline, and hydroxyproline--wound together in an X-helix. When gelatin is boiled in water, the X-helix unwinds and the chains separate. When it begins to cool, the molecules try to regain their original helical shape and bond when they lose energy. This is the process of Jell-O making. Jell-O is made with gelatin, and the gelatin made for Jell-O is composed of the collagen from pork skin, cattle bones, and cattle hide. Those materials are washed, soaked in acid or lime, and washed again; from there, it is boiled to extract the gelatin, filtered, concentrated, and then chilled.

Many cleaning products claim to take out stains faster, easier, and at any temperature. But are they as true as they claim? Because enzymes break down proteins, we will be using enzyme-filled (Tide) and non-enzyme-filled (All, Purex) detergents on Jell-O to observe the breakdown of the Jell-O as a result of those detergents. Jell-O, being made of protein, will be the easiest substance to test this experiment on.

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