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Listed under:  Science  >  Matter  >  Chemical compounds  >  Acids
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Enzymes and proteins active in cells' chemistry

Meet some of the busiest biomolecules inside a cell: enzymes. Find out how they allow cells to carry out chemical reactions very quickly. Discover that most enzymes are proteins, one of the four major types of macromolecules inside a cell. Learn about the many diverse roles of proteins.

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Building blocks: amino acids

Proteins do most of the work in a cell. Consider the enormous number and complexity of proteins and how this is achieved from a relatively small number of building blocks. Learn about the connection between DNA and protein. See how the four letters of the DNA bases can encode the instructions for making all the proteins ...

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VisChem topic 12: acid-base reactions

This web page contains a video, animations and a student worksheet examining the proton-transfer reactions of acids and bases. Self-ionisation of water, acidity of hydrated metal ions, proton gain by ammonia molecules and proton loss from acetic acid are depicted. The animations show important molecular-level segments from ...

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How our bodies burn food for energy

We burn food for energy in our bodies. Chemically it's the same as burning fuel for energy in cars and rockets. Listen to Bernie Hobbs explain more about combustion reactions. Discover why we don't burst into flames when we burn food in our cells.

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Make your own rocket fuel...!?!

You know what happens when the pressure in a bottle reaches extreme levels: KABOOM! Discover with Ruben and Bernie how mixing together some everyday household chemicals can fuel a fizzy fountain or a model rocket, with spectacular results. This is chemistry in motion.

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The role of enzymes

Explore the huge array of complex and precise chemical reactions that must happen for living things to survive. Most of these reactions occur within cells. Discover how cells manage to perform all these chemical reactions, and at a rate fast enough to make them useful.

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Types of amino acids

Find out how amino acids bond to form proteins. A huge variety of proteins are essential for all organisms, including humans. Discover how many different types of amino acids would be needed to produce a living thing as complex as a human. You might be surprised by the answer.

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Essential amino acids

Discover why proteins are essential to life and find out where and how protein in living things is produced.

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Make a lava lamp model using oil and water

Imagine making your very own lava lamp using materials from your kitchen and bathroom. Watch the Surfing Scientist team show you how it can be done, then try and figure out why it works.

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Discovering the key to life

Discover how the study of egg whites, skin and bone, blood products, sawdust, gelatin and the sensitive nose of an eager scientist help to reveal the building blocks of all living things.

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Proteins - structure and function

Can the variation in protein types simply be due to different sequences of amino acids? Discover that there is more to the story and find out about the importance of molecular shape and structure.

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DNA codes for proteins

Discover how a cell translates the DNA code into proteins. This is done through a messenger called ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is like the recipe from a single gene for assembling a protein. Watch animations to see how different enzymes unzip the DNA double helix, read the code, and translate into protein. Find out how ...

Interactive Resource

Digestion Part 3 (sk- Intel)

This brief resource consists of 4 sets of illustrated slides with voice over presenting information about the properties of enzymes and their role during digestion.

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Confectionery makers copy the humble bee

Bees use it to make honey and so do confectionery makers. It's an enzyme that breaks the bonds found in ordinary everyday sugar (sucrose) into two other sugars, called glucose and fructose. See how this enzyme called invertase changes the structure of sucrose to make soft, gooey sweets or runny honey!

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Science experiment that really 'pops'

Watch a demonstration to see hydrogen gas produced during a chemical reaction between an acid and metals. Observe the physical changes that occur when hydrochloric acid reacts with the metal magnesium. Listen for the pop - evidence of a chemical change. When hydrochloric acid reacts with the metal zinc, is the reaction ...

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Try maintaining your shell in an acidic ocean!

The shell of the tiny marine snail called the pteropod is under attack from ocean acidification. See how research into this and the Southern Ocean circulation tells us about impacts of climate change. In this clip from 2010, find out about this research and the Southern Ocean Sentinel project focused on developing an early-warning ...

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Check the pH before jumping into this wetland!

Can you imagine a wetland so acidic that its pH levels are similar to the acid in a car battery? It's part of a problem that scientists call acid mud. In this clip from 2008, see how it forms and what scientists are doing to better understand this environmental disaster.

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Make no bones about ocean acidification

Extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is posing a real problem for the world's oceans. It's leading to ocean acidification and coral reefs are the big losers. See how acidification of the water leads to less calcium carbonate, a vital ingredient corals use to build their skeleton. Watch this clip to find out more.

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Will these metals react in an alkaline solution?

Aluminium, iron and copper are metals. Predict which metal will react when a solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is added to each metal. Sodium Hydroxide is an alkaline solution and in this experiment the pH measures 11.76.

Interactive resource

In digestion

Follow the passage of food through the human body. Select foods and drinks and decide how to digest them. For example, choose to chew, to add saliva to the mouth or add gastric juices to the stomach. Watch how the body reacts to changes. Find out more about digestion along the way and answer questions.