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Exploring Catalase and Invertase Activity Using Sodium Alginate-Encapsulated Yeast (Yeast Spheres)

    Author: Pamela J. Bryer1
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    Affiliations: 1: Biology Department, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 490-491. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1180
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    Abstract:

    Finding the right enzyme experiment can be problematic, depending what one is trying to show, what supplies and equipment are available, and the time one can devote to the topic. I’ve developed simple and inexpensive labs for looking at catalase and invertase activity using yeast encapsulated in sodium alginate. Single-celled yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are encapsulated in sodium alginate, a readily available extract from brown algae that, when it comes in contact with calcium chloride (CaCl2), forms a sphere or “bead.” These spheres may then be put into a solution containing substrate to test for enzyme activity. The spheres are easy to manipulate, one doesn’t have the variability and mess of a yeast solution, and since there are no cells in solution, there is nothing to interfere with the various assay methods one might want to use to test for product. The graduated cylinder method for testing catalase activity introduced here is especially good for collecting large amounts of data that enable students to use statistics and, unlike similar yeast catalase experiments using paper disks and a yeast solution, the yeast spheres are easy to manipulate and there is very little variability. I have used this procedure with students in class and with teachers in workshops with positive results and comments.

Key Concept Ranking

Saccharomyces cerevisiae
0.6
Glucose Oxidase
0.52696437
Hydrogen Peroxide
0.4711491
Erlenmeyer Flasks
0.41802466
0.6

References & Citations

1. Deutch CE2007Degradative enzymes from the pharmacy or health food store: interesting examples for introductory biology laboratoriesAm Biol Teach696647010.1662/0002-7685(2007)69[64:DEFTPO]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2007)69[64:DEFTPO]2.0.CO;2
2. Howard DR, Herr J, Hollister R2006Using trypsin & soybean trypsin inhibitor to teach principles of enzyme kineticsAm Biol Teach6829910410.1662/0002-7685(2006)068[0099:UTSTIT]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2006)068[0099:UTSTIT]2.0.CO;2
3. Kourkoutas Y, Bekatorou A, Banat IM, Marchant M, Koutinas AA2004Immobilization technologies and support materials suitable in alcohol beverages production: a reviewFood Microbiol2137739710.1016/j.fm.2003.10.005 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2003.10.005
4. Miller SB1992Simple enzyme experiments153161 Goldman CA, Andrews SE, Hauta PL, Ketchum RTested studies for laboratory teachingProceedings of the 6th Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE)Las Vegas, NV
5. Vullo D, Wachsman B2005A simple laboratory exercise for ethanol production by immobilized bakery yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)J Food Sci Educ4535510.1111/j.1541-4329.2005.tb00060.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-4329.2005.tb00060.x
6. Weinheimer T, White D2003Using peroxidase to demonstrate enzyme kineticsAm Biol Teach65211612110.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0116:UPTDEK]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0116:UPTDEK]2.0.CO;2
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2016-12-02
2017-11-23

Abstract:

Finding the right enzyme experiment can be problematic, depending what one is trying to show, what supplies and equipment are available, and the time one can devote to the topic. I’ve developed simple and inexpensive labs for looking at catalase and invertase activity using yeast encapsulated in sodium alginate. Single-celled yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are encapsulated in sodium alginate, a readily available extract from brown algae that, when it comes in contact with calcium chloride (CaCl2), forms a sphere or “bead.” These spheres may then be put into a solution containing substrate to test for enzyme activity. The spheres are easy to manipulate, one doesn’t have the variability and mess of a yeast solution, and since there are no cells in solution, there is nothing to interfere with the various assay methods one might want to use to test for product. The graduated cylinder method for testing catalase activity introduced here is especially good for collecting large amounts of data that enable students to use statistics and, unlike similar yeast catalase experiments using paper disks and a yeast solution, the yeast spheres are easy to manipulate and there is very little variability. I have used this procedure with students in class and with teachers in workshops with positive results and comments.

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FIGURE 1

Yeast spheres.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 490-491. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1180
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