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The Chemistry of Life

UMUC Biology 102/103

Lab 2: The Chemistry of Life


· On your own and without assistance, complete thisLab 2Answer Sheet electronically and submit it via theAssignments Folder by the date listed in theCourse Schedule (underSyllabus).

· To conduct your laboratory exercises, use the Laboratory Manual located under Course Content. Read the introduction and the directions for each exercise/experiment carefullybefore completing the exercises/experiments and answering the questions.

· Save your Lab 2Answer Sheet in the following format: LastName_Lab2 (e.g., Smith_Lab2).

· You should submit your document as a Word (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) file for best compatibility.


Pre-Lab Questions

1. Nitrogen fixation is a natural process by which inert or unreactive forms of nitrogen are transformed into usable nitrogen. Why is this process important to life? (5 points)



2. Given what you have learned about the hydrogen bonding shared between nucleic acids in DNA, which pair is more stable under increasing heat: adenine and thymine, or cytosine and guanine? Explain why. (5 points)



3. Which of the following is not an organic molecule: Methane (CH4), Fructose(C6H12O6), Rosane (C20H36), or Ammonia (NH3)? How do you know? (5 points)

Experiment 1: Testing for Proteins

Data Tables and Post-Lab Assessment

Table 1: A Priori Predictions

Sample Will There Be Protein Present? Initial Color Final Color
1. Albumin Solution
2. Gelatin Solution
3. Glucose
4. Water
5. Unknown





Sample Initial Color Final Color Is Protein Present?
1. Albumin Solution
2. Gelatin Solution
3. Glucose
4. Water
5. Unknown


Table 2: Testing for Proteins Results(15 points)



Post-Lab Questions

1. How did your a priori predictions from Table 1 compare to your actual results in Table 2? If there were any inconsistencies, explain why this occurred. (5 points)




2. Identify the positive and negative controls used in this experiment. Explain how each of these controls are used, and why they are necessary to validate the experimental results. (5 points)




3. Identify two regions in which proteins are vital components in the human body. Why are they important to these regions? (5 points)




4. Diet and nutrition are closely linked to the study of biomolecules. Describe one method by which you could monitor your food intake to ensure the cells in your body have the materials necessary to function. (5 points)



Experiment 2: Testing for Reducing Sugars

Data Tables and Post-Lab Assessment

Table 3:Testing for Reducing Sugars Results(15 points)


Sample Initial Color Final Color Reducing Sugar Present
1 – Potato
2 – Onion
3 – Glucose Solution
4 – Water
5 – Unknown



Post-Lab Questions

1. Write a statement to explain the molecular composition of the unknown solution based on the results obtained during testing with each reagent. (5 points)



2. What can you conclude about the molecular make-up of potatoes and onions based on the test you performed? Why might these foods contain these substance(s)? (5 points)




3. What results would you expect if you tested ribose, a monosaccharide, with Benedict’s solution? Biuret solution? (5 points)

Experiment 3: What Household Substances are Acidic or Basic?

Data Tables and Post-Lab Assessment

Table 4:pH Values of Common Household Substances(5 points)

Substance pH Prediction pH Test Strip Color
Acetic Acid (Vinegar)
Sodium Bicarbonate Solution (Baking Soda)



Post-Lab Questions

1. What is the purpose of determining the pH of the acetic acid and the sodium bicarbonate solution before testing the other household substances? (5 points)




2. Compare and contrast acids and bases in terms of their H+ ion and OH ion concentrations. (5 points)





3. Name two acids and two bases you often use. (5 points)

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