5 Creative Ways to Teach Biuret’s Test for Proteins

Anjaney Kothari

Proteins are integral to our physiology, performing innumerable cellular functions in the body. Even outside the body, proteins are omnipresent in the food we eat – eggs, lentils, fish, poultry, and so on. Detecting and quantifying these polypeptides is useful in numerous fields, including medicine and food technology.

Biuret’s test is a simple and reliable method to detect proteins, and one of the oldest assays to do so. It tests for proteins via a colorimetric chemical reaction between the peptide groups of proteins and the Biuret’s reagent. But learning the chemistry of the Biuret’s test can be quite difficult because one cannot readily visualize chemical structures. The process becomes all the more challenging because of the complexities of protein structure.

How, then, can one teach the fundamentals and applications of the Biuret’s test in a creative, engaging and learning-friendly manner? Here, we list five creative ways to teach Biuret’s test so students can conveniently learn this protein detection technique.

1. Engage Students with Interactive Models

Using interactive models is an exciting way to teach chemistry to students at all levels of education. Such models help students overcome their fear of complex chemical structures.

3D ball and stick models, whether physical or virtual, of complex molecules can help students interactively learn their underlying chemistry. For example, these models can help students recreate and visualize the chemical reaction between peptide groups and the Biuret reagent.

Labster’s Biuret’s test simulation allows students to interact with virtual ball and stick models of proteins and effectively understand their chemistry. In our simulation, students learn about the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of proteins, all in under 15 min. Eventually, the students perform the Biuret’s test in a virtual lab to detect proteins in a variety of samples.

Adding Biuret reagent in test tube

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

Encouraging students to participate in games and activities in the classroom can ensure that the subject matter doesn’t overwhelm them. And we can all recall how overwhelming chemistry (particularly protein biochemistry!) can be for new students without some fun activities.

Labster’s Biuret’s test simulation, starts by students jumping inside a virtual egg – an excellent source of protein. Once the students are ‘inside their food’, an engaging animation teaches them the chemistry and the different structures of proteins. This enjoyable scientific activity can make protein chemistry a fantastic learning experience for the students.

Watching the animation of protein.

3. Make Learning Easy with the Help of Technology

Studies have shown that technology-assisted teaching not only guarantees student satisfaction but also improves their academic performance. Then why not use technologies like animation, augmented reality, and user-controlled simulation to make learning easy for your students? The usefulness of such technologies is even greater for challenging concepts like protein structure and the chemistry of protein quantification.

Through Labster’s Biuret’s test simulation, the students can virtually place themselves in a stimulating chemistry learning environment. The simulation systematically takes the students through protein biosynthesis, structure, and quantification through the Biuret’s test. This way, students learn more in less time, while also experiencing the satisfaction of creative learning.

Animation of protein in a virtual lab.
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4. Inspire Students by Discussing Career Opportunities

Many students today question the importance of the subject matter they learn in schools and universities. It may not always be immediately clear if a topic they are learning today could come in handy years later. Acquainting your students with career opportunities where they may need to apply the topic you are teaching could inspire them.

Talk to your students about how food technologists apply the Biuret’s test to detect and quantify proteins in food products. Tell them how hospital sterile service departments use this test to ensure that surgical instruments are free from protein contamination.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

There is often a wide disconnect between classroom teaching and real-world applications. If you want your students to grasp complex concepts more easily, make sure to connect them to real-world applications.

For example, through Labster’s Biuret’s test simulation, students can try their hands on some real-world applications of the Biuret’s test. In a virtual setup, they test for the presence of proteins in everyday foods like rice, eggs, and cheese. You can also discuss with your students the sheer presence of proteins in almost every aspect of everyday life. This will help them realize the importance of learning about these biomolecules and pique their curiosity about protein chemistry.

Final thoughts

A thorough understanding of protein structure and protein detection methods is a necessity in several professions. By leveraging the techniques that we have discussed here, you can teach protein chemistry and the Biuret’s test in a way that students can easily translate from theory to practice.

If you are looking to creatively teach the Biuret’s test to your students, check out Labster’s Biuret’s test simulation.

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