The effect of catalase enzymeand its feasibility in preventing grey hairs in human beings.

Hair is a thread-likestructure that grows from the skin of mammals. In humans, tiny, light-colouredhairs that are barely visible cover the entire human body while in other areaslike the scalp, around the jaw as well as the pubic area bear much thickerhair. Hairs are vital as they are functional around the eyes, ears and in thenose as they serve a protective function. These hairs serve as an obstructionfor dust, insects and other foreign matter. Amongst humans, however, hairhas primarily a cosmetic value. Based on the Fischer-Saller scale, shades ofhair colour include very light blonde, light blonde, blonde, light brown tobrown, dark brown/ black, red and red blonde. In spite of this however, it is acommon phenomenon that human hair greys with age. As a result this is a causeof insecurity among people.

For many years there has been a lot of controversyto what causes ones hair to de-colour. This sparked research and manydiscoveries were made. One discovery was that hairfollicles called melanocytes began losing their ability, over time, to producethe pigment, melanin, which colours the hair. This results in an array ofcolours from silver to grey to white.In this discovery it wasconcluded that these melanocytes ordinarily contain small quantities ofhydrogen peroxide (a clear liquid with oxidising properties) which is producednaturally by the body.

This hydrogen peroxide is usually monitored by theenzyme catalase which breaks it down into water and oxygen. With aging thecatalase enzyme is reduced therefore causing a decline in the catalysation ofhydrogen peroxide. This results in the hydrogen peroxide hair bleaching thehair from within, as we get older. In contrast, young and healthy bodiesproduce sufficient amounts of this powerful antioxidant enzyme which stillefficiently functions to break down hydrogen peroxide, hence greying is notordinarily prevalent.Hydrogen peroxide is aubiquitous molecule. It is exhaled, excreted and consumed by humans.

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It isfound in drinking water, rain water and in sea water. In a recent study, it wasemphasised that an abundance of hydrogen peroxide in the human body can producedevastating tissue damage to all its organs. (Halliwell et al.

, 2000)Externally from the human body, the catalase enzyme can be found in yeast or inpotatoes. This enzyme works optimally at 37° C which is close to bodytemperature while its optimal pH level is between 6.8 and 7.5 which is a fairlyneutral pH.

The following research will investigate the effectiveness ofcatalase enzyme in decomposing hydrogen peroxide, and how this enzyme can beused to decrease hydrogen peroxide in hair follicles of humans, slowing downthe greying process. In order to determine the effectiveness of the catalaseenzyme, experiments will be conducted whereby potatoes and yeast will besubjected to varying temperatures and pH levels, simulating the temperaturesand the pH levels of the human digestive process. Time will be kept constantwhilst the height of the bubbles will be recorded and analysed.Aim: To investigate if thecatalase enzyme will function between pH levels _ to _ and at temperatures of 5°Cto 80°C and therefore if they can be used to prevent grey hairs.

Hypothesis: Catalaseenzymes work the best at pH level 7 at a temperature of 40° C and thereforewould be highly effective in preventing grey hairs. Methodology: For ease this experiment hasbeen divided in to 2 individual methods.Method A – Temperature ·      Peel potatoes and cutthem up into 5 individual pieces about 1cm x 1cm x 1cm. ·      Label 5 graduatedmeasuring cylinders 5°; 10°; 20°; 40° and 80° respectively. ·      Label 5 beakers withthe same 5 labels – 5°; 10°; 20°; 40° and 80°.·      Into each graduatedmeasuring cylinder, using a syringe, place 3ml of hydrogen peroxide.·      Each beaker is going toact as a water bath at different temperatures. Therefore each beaker has to befilled individually and the temperature has to be checked often by using athermometer.

·      Each beaker will befilled using a syringe with 6cm³ of distilled water in each.1.     For beaker labelled 5°ü  Place 6cm³ of water in the beaker, placing a thermometer inthe beaker and then placing them into a freezer.

ü  Keep checking the thermometer until the reading says 5°C. ü  Remove from the freezer and immediately place the graduatedmeasuring cylinder labelled 5°C into the beaker.ü  Now remove the thermometer from the beaker, wipe it, resetit and place it into the graduated measuring cylinder with the hydrogenperoxide. ü  When that thermometer presents 5°C place a cube of cutpotato into the hydrogen peroxide compound.ü  After 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds measure theheight of the bubbles produced above the water meniscus. Make sure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error ofparallax. ü  Record the data findings2.     For beaker labelled 10°ü  Place 6cm³ of water in the beaker, placing a thermometer inthe beaker and then placing them into a freezer.

ü  Keep checking the thermometer until the reading says 10°C. ü  Remove from the freezer and immediately place the graduatedmeasuring cylinder labelled 10°C into the beaker.ü  Now remove the thermometer from the beaker, wipe it, resetit and place it into the graduated measuring cylinder with the hydrogenperoxide. ü  When that thermometer presents 10°C place a cube of cutpotato into the hydrogen peroxide compound.

ü  After 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds measure theheight of the bubbles produced above the water meniscus. Make sure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error ofparallax. ü  Record the data findings3.     For beaker labelled 20°ü  Place 6cm³ of water in the beaker, placing a thermometer inthe beaker and then placing them into a fridge. ü  Keep checking the thermometer until the reading says 20°C. ü  Remove from the fridge and immediately place the graduatedmeasuring cylinder labelled 20°C into the beaker.

ü  Now remove the thermometer from the beaker, wipe it, resetit and place it into the graduated measuring cylinder with the hydrogenperoxide. ü  When that thermometer presents 20°C place a cube of cutpotato into the hydrogen peroxide compound.ü  After 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds measure theheight of the bubbles produced above the water meniscus. Make sure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error ofparallax. ü  Record the data findings4.

     For beaker labelled 40°ü  Place 6cm³ of water in the beaker, placing a thermometer inthe beaker and then placing them into a pot, filled with water. ü  Place the pot with the beaker inside on a stove and turn onthe stove to medium heat.ü  Keep checking the thermometer until the reading says 40°C. ü  Remove from the pot using tongs and immediately place thegraduated measuring cylinder labelled 40°C into the beaker.ü  Now remove the thermometer from the beaker, wipe it, resetit and place it into the graduated measuring cylinder with the hydrogenperoxide. ü  When that thermometer presents 40°C place a cube of cutpotato into the hydrogen peroxide compound.ü  After 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds measure theheight of the bubbles produced above the water meniscus.

Make sure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error ofparallax. ü  Record the data findings5.     For beaker labelled 80°ü  Place 6cm³ of water in the beaker, placing a thermometer inthe beaker and then placing them into a pot, filled with water. ü  Place the pot with the beaker inside on a stove and turn onthe stove to high heat.

ü  Keep checking the thermometer until the reading says 80°C. ü  Remove from the pot using tongs and immediately place thegraduated measuring cylinder labelled 80°C into the beaker.ü  Now remove the thermometer from the beaker, wipe it, resetit and place it into the graduated measuring cylinder with the hydrogenperoxide. ü  When that thermometer presents 80°C place a cube of cutpotato into the hydrogen peroxide compound.

ü  After 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds measure theheight of the bubbles produced above the water meniscus. Make sure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error ofparallax.ü  Record the data findings Method B – pHü  Peel potatoes and cut them up into 3 individual piecesabout 1cm x 1cm x 1cm. ü  Label 5 graduated measuring cylinders A; B; and C respectively.ü  Using a 10ml syringe, add 5ml of hydrogen peroxide solutionto each graduated measuring cylinder.ü  Using a clean 10ml syringe, add 5ml of 2M of hydro-chloricacid (HCl) to cylinder Aü  Using a clean 10ml syringe, add 5ml of 2M of sodiumhydroxide (NaOH) to cylinder Bü  Using a clean 10ml syringe, add 5ml of distilled water tocylinder Cü  Using universal pH indicator paper, measure the pH of eachof the graduated measuring cylinder.

ü  Add the cut up pieces of potato to each graduated measuringcylinder. ü  Measure the bubbles produced above the water meniscus after30 seconds, 60 seconds and 120 seconds. Makesure to look at the measurement at eye level to avoid the error of parallax.ü  Record the data findings One hypothesis is that stresscauses the release of stress hormones which lead to inflammation andfree-radical production.

This intern would affect the production or bleachingof melanin within the body. Additionally studies in theIndian Dermatology Online Journal have shown that smokers are 2.5 times moresusceptible to premature greying than non-smokers.