The Properties of Enzymes: A Study of Catalase

A CIBT Lab Exercise in Molecular Biology



The structure and function of enzymes is a central theme in cellular and mo


Appropriate Levels

Regents, or adaptable to Honors or AP.


Time Required

1 period to prep students and demonstrate preparation of potato extract. 1 period to collect data. 1 period to compile class data and analyze results.



  • 100-ml graduated cylinder (1)
  • graph paper
  • glass stirring rod
  • forceps
  • hole punch
  • marking pens
  • small beakers (3), one of which must be 50-ml in volume and transparent
  • hydrogen peroxide (as sold, 3% solution; allow ~ 50 ml per team)
  • phosphate buffer, pH 7 (optional); allow~150 ml per team
  • stop watch or clear view of a clock with a second hand
  • Whatman 2.4 cm GF/A Glass microfibre filters (purchased from Fisher Scientific catalog #987412 BX for a box of 100) or use "holes" punched from standard xerox paper - allow at least 6 per team per class
  • blender (1)
  • large funnel (1)
  • large graduated cylinder (1)
  • knife to cut the potato
  • potatoes (assume one per group of students)
  • boiled potato
  • cheesecloth from a supply company (DON’T use grocery store cheesecloth) for Part 3 (per group or for class demo)
  • test tubes (5)
  • test tube rack
  • pH solutions (3, 5, 7, 9, 11)
  • hydrogen peroxide (30% solution)
  • metric ruler
  • graph paper
  • catalase Solution (60% soln from Part 1)
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Marcia Cordts, Cornell University, Ithaca NY 14853

Nancy Ridenour, Ithaca High School, Ithaca NY 14850

Harriet Bongiorno, Union-Endicott Senior High, Endicott NY 13760

Mary Kay Hickey, Dryden High School, Dryden NY, 13053