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Monday, December 19, 2011

Determining if a Substance is a Sugar, a Starch, a Protein, or a Lipid

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We were given four unknown substances (A, B, C and D), and we had to figure out which one was a sugar, a starch, a protein, or a lipid. What did we do? We performed four simple tests that, for the most part, with a color change told us the results. We did them one at a time so we could eliminate a substance per test. The first test we did was the Biuret test in which we found that none of the substances were proteins, and; therefore we could not eliminate any of the substances. Second, we did the Benedict’s test in which we only saw a change in substance A, which lead us to believe that substance A was a sugar. After eliminating substance A, we did the brown paper test that does not have a color change for a result but lives an oil spot which is simple to identify. The presence of an oil spot on the brown paper told us that substance C was a lipid. Finally, we preformed the iodine test on the last two substances, which showed us that substance B was starch because it reacted and changed color from yellow to black.


Introduction


Three types of organic polymers are proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. These polymers are composed of monomers. The monomers of proteins are amino acids; the monomers of carbohydrates are sugars; and the monomers of lipids are fatty acids. In this experiment, we will be studying the chemical composition of carbohydrates (sugar and starches), proteins and lipids.


Scientists have different tests or experiments the can be preformed in substances to figure out the substances’ chemical composition. We will be using four types of tests to identify the chemical composition of four unknown substances. We are especially interested in finding out which substance is a sugar, a starch, a protein, or a lipid. The four tests that will be used are the Benedict’s, iodine, Biuret, and brown paper tests. First, the Benedict’s test is used to determine if a substance contains a sugar. Second, the iodine test helps us figure out if a substance contains a starch. Third, the Biuret test identifies proteins in substances. Finally, the brown paper test helps to recognize if a substance is a lipid. In the first three tests a color change will let us know which substance is what. In the Benedict’s test, the substance that turns from blue to brown or green will be a sugar. For the iodine test the substance that is a starch will turn black when iodine is added. Similarly, in the Biuret test the substance that turns purple will be a protein. However, in the brown paper test we are not looking for a color change but since “fats do not evaporate from brown paper; instead they leave an oily spot,” we are looking for an oily spot (Mader 00).


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The four unknown substances are labeled A, B, C, and D. Substance A and D are clear colored liquids and we suspect that one of these substances is our control, in other words water and that the other is a protein or a sugar. Substance B appears to be dried potato flakes; therefore, we suspect that this will test positive to starch in the iodine test. Lastly, we suspect, because substance D looks oily like lard or cream, that D is a lipid and will test positive in the brown paper test.


Materials and Method


One of the experience’s purposes was to reveal which substance A, B, C or D was a protein. The test preformed was the Biuret test, which tests substances for protein. The first thing we did was gather all our materials. The materials used were substance A, B, C, and D, four test tubes, a test tube stand, a wax pencil, a millimeter ruler, biuret reagent, and a dropper. Second, we marked the test tubes by using the wax pencil and ruler at the two, and four-centimeter levels and marked each with a letter of a corresponding substance. Third, we filled test tube A with substance A up to the first mark on the tube. Then, we did same thing with the rest the substances. Fourth, we filled the test tubes with Biuret reagent up to the second mark. At this point, we could see if a change in color had taken place. We recorded our finding using a table, which stated which substance tested positive or negative in the Biuret test.





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