Lab 10: Measurement of Metabolic Rate and Insulin Regulation of Blood Glucose


Chapters 12 and 13

This week in lab, students measure their metabolic rate using indirect calorimetry. This method is used in lab because it is simpler to measure oxygen consumption versus heat production in the lab setting. Using a respirometer, the teaching assistant fills the tank with 100% oxygen, which the students breathe over a period of 4 to 5 minutes. The decrease in tank volume represents that student's oxygen consumption. From there, students can calculate their resting metabolic rate.

Clear Dessicator jar and attached apparatus.

To examine the relationship of metabolism to surface area and body weight, students compare the average oxygen consumption of a rat, which can identify the rat's metabolic rate, relative to a student participant.

Woman dabing a drop of blood from her finger onto a test strip in a glucometer.

During this lab students also examine how the human body regulates blood glucose levels in the blood over a 90 minute period using a glucometer. One student volunteer obtains a baseline reading before quickly drinking a 20 oz. Mountain Dew. Every 30 minutes after that, the student will determine the glucose concentration so the class can observe changes in blood sugar levels.

Topics to Review Before Lab:

  • Types of metabolic reactions
  • Anaerobic and Aerobic Respiration
  • Pathways using Acetyl CoA
  • Preferred energy source fo different organs
  • Insulin regulation
  • Diabetes mellitus (Type I vs Type II)