THIS DAY IN SCIENCE: National Forest Week (Sept 20-26) in 1994

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This demonstration illustrates the importance of enzymes in the human body. Enzymes catalyze many important chemical reactions in the body. This demonstration is a visual example of how the enzyme catalase, which is present in all cells, but in highest concentrations in the liver, breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. Hydrogen peroxide, which is a potentially damaging oxidizing agent, is a by-product of certain cellular reactions. It must be broken down quickly because it could damage and destroy cells.

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