What substances besides blood will make peroxide bubble/foam?

0 votes
asked Nov 18, 2015 in Science by Tfheffner (120 points)
reshown Jan 11, 2016 by Morgenstern
Found a red stain that looked like blood. Put peroxide on it and there was a reaction. I'm trying not to freak out by finding out what other things that are red that could cause that reaction.  Please help. Thanks.

1 Answer

+10 votes
answered Jan 17, 2016 by TatianaIacov (140 points)

Most people wonder why hydrogen peroxide produce bubbles when they are applied to any wound or cut, but fails to bubble when it is applied to a skin with no wound or any kind of opening, the following content is aiming at helping you answer this question. Let us delve into the chemistry that controls the bubbling of hydrogen when applied to an open wound and what happens when it fails to bubble.

Answer: When hydrogen peroxide comes in touch with the enzyme known as catalase, a bubble is produced. Most of the cells in the human body contains catalase, which means, once you damage the tissue, the enzyme gets released and is made available so it can react with the hydrogen peroxide.

The catalase makes it possible for the hydrogen peroxide H2O2 to be broken down into oxygen and water. The bubbles that form when oxygen is poured on a cut are oxygen gas bubbles. Certain bacteria such as staphylococcus, cells and blood are known to contain catalase, but not found on your skin surface so applying hydrogen peroxide on your skin when you have neither cut or wound will not produce any bubbles.

Additionally, due to the high reactive nature of hydrogen peroxide, it has a shelf life that starts counting as soon as the container is opened, so once you see no trace of bubbles after the application of hydrogen peroxide on a bloody cut or infected wound, it is a good sign that your hydrogen peroxide may have lost its potency. 

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