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Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Cell Wall Chemistry of Biofuel

Lesson Description:
This module focuses on the production of sugar (glucose and maltose) from cornstarch. The first lesson from this module relates glucose production from cornstarch to ethanol fuel production from corn stover. Another lesson uses a calculator based colorimeter interface from the Vernier Company to quantify the hydrolysis of starch to sugar by salivary amylase. In this lesson saliva is added to a starch solution containing a couple of drops of iodine. light initially doesn’t pass through this solution. If the absorption decreases after the addition of the saliva, this means more light is passing through and the starch is being hydrolyzed (broken down into maltose and glucose). The third lesson again uses colorimetry but this time to measure starch hydrolysis by dilute (1% volume to volume) sulfuric acid. Finally, we offer suggestions for using starch hydrolysis and colorimetry as a basis for student designed experiments.
Lesson Type:
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Other

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge
  • I Ride Green

Time Needed:
Five 45 minute classes
Materials Needed:
  • Protective eye wear
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Lab apron
  • Graduated cylinder
  • 250 ml beaker
  • Stirring rod
  • Distilled water
  • Four to eight 15 mL test tubes and stoppers per group 
  • Labels for glassware 
  • Waterproof pen 
  • Notebook 
  • Mass balance 
  • Weighing paper 
  • Vernier LabPro and cords 
  • Vernier Colormeter and cuvettes 
  • Kimwipes 
  • Disposable pipettes 
  • TI Graphing Calculator 
  • Corn Starch 
  • Iodine Tincture 

School or Group:
U.S. Department of Energy
Contact Email:
Located in: Science

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Center for Green Schools