Chemistry and more with egg whites

15 April 2019.

Sixth-grade student Erika suggested that we try an experiment to see how fast an enzyme, pepsin, can break down egg white protein.  Pepsin is a protease, which breaks bonds in proteins by hydrolysis, adding water to the peptide bond between amino acids in a protein.  The bond being broken, the protein falls into two parts – and more, as the hydrolysis continues.  We put egg white in water and heated it to make a fine suspension, a colloid. We made several solutions to measure how fast the albumen (egg white) breaks down, using 0ur spectrophotometer to track how the blockage of light by the solution disappeared over time.  The data analysis worked very well.  The whole write-up extends to some advanced math and science.