What you refer to as blood sugar is actually glucose, a simple sugar that comes from the carbohydrates you eat and that converts to an important energy source for the body. In powdered form, glucose is combined with other sugars and added to food to make it sweeter, or used as a nutritional supplement for athletes. It's easy to prepare a glucose solution at home to use for a number of experiments.
When a known quantity of glucose is mixed with a known quantity of water, it is known as a standard glucose solution. Scientists use standard glucose solutions to measure the concentration of glucose in an unknown solution. Glucose solutions are also used in a number of research experiments and to measure blood glucose levels in people with diabetes or suspected diabetes. These tests measure whether the body can cope with large amounts of sugar. If the blood sugar recorded in the test is higher than a certain point, the cells in the body may not be absorbing enough sugar, which may be caused by diabetes.
Things You'll Need
- Powdered glucose
- Deionized water
- Stir bar
- Hot plate with stir function
Use your glucose solution to carry out experiments on dissolution, oxidation and fermentation.
To work out how much glucose you need to make a solution of a given percent, multiply (mass/volume) by volume, bearing in mind that 1 g in 100 ml is a 1 percent solution. For this example, if you want to make a total solution of 500 ml of 20 percent glucose, multiply (20/100) by 500. The answer is 100, so you need 100 g of powdered glucose. (If you were making a 10 percent glucose solution, the calculation is (10/100) x 500, and the answer is 50 g).
Insert a stir bar and sit the beaker on a hot plate. Turn on the heat and stir functions. Let the water heat up, but don't bring it to boiling point, as this will stop the glucose going into solution.
Stir the solution over heat for a few minutes. Glucose dissolves in water because the glucose molecules and the water molecules attract each other; glucose has lots of polar hydroxyl groups to hydrogen-bond with polar water molecules.
Your glucose solution is now ready.
About the Author
Claire is a writer and editor with 18 years' experience. She writes about science and health for a range of digital publications, including Reader's Digest, HealthCentral, Vice and Zocdoc.