How to use protease to break down egg whites

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Protease is part of a large enzyme group called hydrolases, that helps break down proteins. This process is called hydrolysis and it makes amino acids available for use. Your pancreas produces protease, but for an extra boost, you can also eat papaya and pineapple which are rich in this enzyme.

To conduct an experiment to see how this breakdown process works, you can use egg whites. Egg whites are mainly made up of the protein collagen. If protease is added to the egg white, it will break the collagen down.

Hard boil two to four eggs and remove the yolks. Allow the egg whites to cool completely. Cut your egg whites into small cubes. Place the cubes in at least two different test tubes. Place the same amount in all tubes.

Measure out 5ml of water in a measuring tube and place it in your control tube with the egg white.

Place 4ml of water in the second tube. Add 1ml of your protease solution to this tube. This solution should have a composition of 1 per cent albumen, 1 per cent tripsin and 98 per cent water. That is the normal protease composition. If you have more than two tubes, add 3ml water into the third tube with 2ml of protease and 2ml of water with 3ml protease in the forth tube.

Place the test tubes in a water bath that has a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. This is the same temperature as the internal body temperature of a human. This is your controlled variable and you want to keep the temperature constant, so it doesn't affect the results of the experiment.

Start a timer to see how long it takes to break down and appear to be visually clear. The clear appearance will mean that the proteins have broken down. Stop the timer when the solution goes clear and record the time for each tube.