Raising environmental awareness through applied biochemistry laboratory experiments

S. Salman Ashraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our environment is under constant pressure and threat from various sources of pollution. Science students, in particular chemistry students, must not only be made aware of these issues, but also be taught that chemistry (and science) can provide solutions to such real-life issues. To this end, a newly developed biochemistry laboratory experiment is described that guides students to learn about the applicability of peroxidase enzymes to degrade organic dyes (as model pollutants) in simulated waste water. In addition to showing how enzymes can potentially be used for waste water remediation, various factors than can affect enzyme-based reactions such as pH, temperature, concentration of substrates/enzymes, and denaturants can also be tested. This "applied biotechnology" experiment was successfully implemented in an undergraduate biochemistry laboratory course to enhance students' learning of environmental issues as well important biochemistry concepts. Student survey confirmed that this laboratory experiment was successful in achieving the objectives of raising environmental awareness in students and illustrating the usefulness of chemistry in solving real-life problems. This experiment can be easily adopted in an introductory biochemistry laboratory course and taught as an inquiry-guided exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Biochemistry
  • Dyes
  • Environment
  • Enzymes
  • Hands-on learning
  • Laboratory experiment
  • Laboratory instruction
  • Peroxidase
  • Remediation
  • Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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