There are three experiments that make up this program.
IN THE FIRST EXPERIMENT, students are given the opportunity to determine the amount of amylase in their own saliva and in cell-free extracts prepared from the cow pancreas. This exercise offers practical experience with a novel enzyme assay and introduces the concept of the calibration curve for determining the levels of a specific enzyme in a complex mixture.
THE SECOND EXPERIMENT introduces students to a powerful technique that involves the detection of specific enzymes in agarose gels following electrophoresis of a protein mixture. Here students compare the electrophoretic properties of amylases from bacteria, pancreas and their saliva in order to determine if enzymes that have the same function have similar or different amino acid compositions as revealed by their gel migration patterns.
IN THE THIRD EXPERIMENT, students study the induction of amylase that occurs during germination of barley. Possible student-designed hypothesis driven experiments are also listed in the Instructor guide that can be performed using the materials provided with the experiment package.
The three experiments can be carried out in a single 3-hour lab period or in
three 1-1.5 hour periods. Electrophoretic equipment is needed for experiment 2. Sufficient materials are provided so that 8 groups of students can perform the three experiments at least twice. Typical results of the experiments are shown in the pictures.