When you follow a plant-based diet you need a balance of different amino acids from a variety of plant-based protein sources such as legumes, grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables
This resource accompanies the Education in Chemistry article A meaty problem.
- Review the naming and structures of common amino acids.
- Draw the structural formulas for dipeptides and tripeptides formed during protein synthesis and the component amino acids formed during hydrolysis.
- Investigate how thin layer chromatography (TLC) can be used to separate amino acids in a mixture.
- Calculate Rf values to identify individual amino acids.
Alternatives to meat products, such as tofu and jackfruit, have been popular since the 1960s. Tofu is a product made from soybeans. More recently, food developers and technologists have used a naturally occurring protein, haem, to make plant-based meat alternatives look and taste more like actual meat. It is important for food scientists and technologists to understand the chemistry behind food processing.
The following tasks first guide you through the chemistry behind building protein molecules from their amino acid monomers in condensation reactions. The process of hydrolysis, which breaks peptide bonds within protein chains to reform amino acids, is then considered. Finally, the separation and identification of amino acids using Rf values in chromatography is investigated.
Students successfully completing the questions will show understanding of the learning objectives:
- ‘Review the naming and structure of common amino acids’ is assessed using questions 1(a), 3 and 5 (b).
- ‘Draw the structural formulas for dipeptides and tripeptides formed during protein synthesis’ is assessed using question 2. ‘Draw the structural formulas for… the component amino acids formed during hydrolysis’ is assessed using questions 3 and 5.
- ‘Investigate how thin layer chromatography (TLC) can be used to separate amino acids in a mixture’ is assessed using questions 4 and 5.
- ‘Calculate Rf values to identify individual amino acids’ is assessed using questions 4 and 5 (f).
- Find out how microbes and renewable energy can turn carbon dioxide into an edible protein with this Science Research News starter slide.
- Discover the methods and conditions used by chemical scientists to grow protein crystals in this lesson plan with activities for 14–16 year olds.
- Find out what chemistry skills learners need to study a course in dietetics at university with this article and accompanying resource.
- Link to chemists working in the food industry with this careers video featuring a flavourist and innovation director.
- Editable handout | Word, Size 0.94 mb
- Handout | PDF, Size 0.56 mb
- Editable handout | Word, Size 0.83 mb
- Handout | PDF, Size 0.49 mb