A Low-Cost Exercise Relating Glutamate Solubility to pH & Buffering Capacity

Mark A. Schoenbeck, Claudia M. Rauter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of solubility, and its relation to molecular structure, is important for understanding the properties of biological molecules in solution as they interact with the solvent and with each other. To demonstrate the relation between structure, solubility, and buffering capacity, we report a low-cost laboratory exercise using monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a model solute. Students observe how glutamate solution initially resists acidification and how glutamate solubility is first decreased and then restored with acidification. Students should interpret these observations relative to the structure of the solute. This exercise has been employed in introductory level courses for both biology majors and nonmajors and would also be appropriate for AP Biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-425
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 12 2022


  • amino acid
  • buffer
  • introductory biology laboratory
  • organic functional groups
  • pH
  • solubility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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