Part of the ‘side effects’ of the new electrophoresis sets we’ve added is that there need to be some classroom projects for teachers & students who want to use them. Well, when that happens next thing you know you’ve got all kinds of potential classroom labs to run! We’ve listed a few new biochemistry kits, some of them involve the electrophoresis apparatus, but others stand alone.
All of these kits are designed to handle sixteen students, operating in pairs. Activities take approximately 1 hour or two 1-hour sessions.
First up is the Properties of DNA Classroom Kit
In this lab, students will unravel Calf thymus DNA and spool it onto a glass rod. The materials provided include the DNA solution, and the materials to precipitate the DNA fibers. The DNA fibers can be up to 4cm long. The spooling is possible due to the double-helix nature of DNA. Students will learn about this and other properties of DNA. This classroom kit provides all materials except the very commonly available alcohol.The kit is just $104.95 and covers 16 students working in pairs.
Now the names might start to get a little long, as the next kit is Effects of Temperature on Cell Respiration
In this lab students use calibrated respirometers to measure the oxygen consumption and other factors in germinating grains. The exercise introduces students to a fundamental biological process and provides insight into seed structure and germination. This lab covers 16 students working in pairs. The kit costs $129.95 and includes the seeds and respirometers.
Taking advantage of the new Electrophoresis Apparatuses the next kits require the class have them available. The first kit is a simple, low cost Introduction to Electrophoresis
Costing just $47.95, this kit is a two-part lab where students identify unknown dye molecules by comparing their electrophoretic migration with the migration of known dyes. In the second part students identify dye molecules that bind to DNA and determine the mechanism. The exercise was designed for 8 groups of students and includes four colorful dye mixtures and DNA.
Hope you enjoyed that simple title, because next up is the impressively-named Specifity of Albumin Binding Classroom Kit, another lab involving electrophoresis equipment.
With this kit (no separate picture, sorry) we’ll just let the description speak for the kit:
“The binding of an enzyme to its substrate is only one example of the many specific molecular interactions that occur in biological systems. An analogous binding process occurs with serum albumin, which binds certain small molecular weight compounds and serves as a carrier molecule for these compounds in blood. In this exercise, students use an electrophoretic assay to examine the binding of various dyes to albumin. The results of this graphic analysis show that the binding of dyes to albumin is saturable, specific, compatible, and dependent on the native structure of the protein. The exercise is designed such that each of the eight groups of students performs a different experiment. Each group then describes their results and conclusion to the entire class. This exercise is a valuable experience in analyzing data and provides a fine introduction to enzyme kinetics. ”
OK, the final kit, which also uses Electrophoresis equipment, is a mouthful in the title alone: Electrophoretic and Chromatographic Analysis of Photosynthetic Pigments from Blue-Green Algae
Again, we have to let the kit description do the talking:
“Cyanobactera, also known as blue-green algae, obtain their energy by photosynthesis using sunlight as their energy source. These organisms have been considered to be the oldest and the most important bacteria on the earth. It is believed that they were responsible for the initial oxygenation of the earth’s atmosphere through photosynthesis and it is also felt they were the precursors to the chloroplasts that are found in true algae and plants. There are two classes of photosynthetic pigments in Cyanobactera. The first class contains water-soluble proteins and the major protein is called Phycocyanin, which is blue. The other classes of photosynthetic pigments that include the carotinoids and chlorophylls are small molecular weight molecules and are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol. In this laboratory exercise, 8 groups of students isolate and characterize both groups of pigments. In part A of this exercise, students prepare a water-soluble extract from blue green algae and show that it contains the single major protein Phycocyanin by electrophoresis as shown in the gel below. They also determine the charge of this protein by comparing its electrophoretic mobility to the mobilities of dyes with known charges. In part B, they prepare an alcohol extract and analyze the smaller alcohol soluble pigments by thin layer chromatography in order to identify the chlorophylls and major carotenoid pigments. The results of this two-part study give students practical hands-on experience with isolation of components from cells as well as electrophoresis and thin layer chromatography and introduces them to one of the most important organisms on the earth. ”
Despite the long name and description, this kit also handles 16 students in pairs, and costs under $130!
These kits are excellent for schools or homeschooling groups efforts. They are economical and include excellent instructions. They are an excellent addition to any Biochem class’s curriculum.
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