Student Question

What will happen during a chemical reaction where you put a piece of ground beef into hydrogen peroxide?

This is the experiment:

1.  Place 15 ml of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into a small beaker and record the temperature using a thermometer.

2.  Place the ground beef into the beaker.

3.  Record your observations of the reaction.

Reaction:     2H2O2 --->  2H2O   +   2O2

If there is a website with pictures of this chemical reaction, please tell me the link! Thanks!

Expert Answers

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The reaction you are referring to is the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. You will see bubbling when the meat has the hydrogen peroxide placed on it. That is because the enzyme catalase is present. Catalase allows this reaction to occur at a much faster rate then if no catalase were present, and at lower temperatures. Hydrogen peroxide is something that must be broken down in the body, and catalase is the enzyme that allows this reaction to occur at body temperature. It functions optimally at a ph of 7.

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