Consumer Confusion Part 1 - Bio & Non Bio washing powdersDr Mark Lorch from the University of Hull created 3 different solutions, a biological solution, a non-biological solution and finally just water to test how egg proteins are broken down.
The results of our test - the biological solution broke down the egg protein more than the others tested
Biological washing powder contains several types of proteins called enzymes. These are naturally occurring molecules that all living things produce to do particular jobs. They are, if you like, nature’s molecular machines. There are enzymes that digest food, fight infections and replicate DNA. You name a biological process and enzymes are probably involved in it. That’s why the washing powders that contain them are ‘biological’.
The enzymes that are added to washing powders are like molecular scissors that chop up fats, starch and proteins, all of which cause stains on your clothes. The result is cleaner clothes without needing to use hot washes (because the enzymes work at low temperatures).
You can test the enzymes to see them in action with a nice simple demonstration using a hard boiled egg. The white of the egg is almost all protein, so one of the enzymes in the biological washing powder should literally digest it.
1) Mix a teaspoon of biological washing powder into a glass of water, in a second glass add non-biological washing powder and in a third just add water.
2) Take the white from a hard boiled egg and chop it into small pieces.
3) Place one piece of chopped egg in each glass.
4) Leave the glasses in a warm place (like on a radiator or airing cupboard) overnight.
5) The next morning inspect the bits of egg.
You should notice that the egg in the water and non-bio mixture hasn't changed, it still has nice sharp edges where you made the cuts. But the egg in biological mixture is smaller and the edges are much smoother. That’s because the enzymes have been busy chopping away at the egg white. And they do the same to the protein stains (like blood and grass stains) on your clothes.
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