Kim Linenberger (Iowa State University, USA), Stacey Lowery Bretz (Miami University, USA)
Enzyme-substrate interactions are fundamental concepts that span various topics in biochemistry and molecular biology (e.g., kinetics, metabolism, and translation). Deficiencies in understanding of enzyme-substrate interactions could hinder students’ understandings of later concepts in biochemistry. Misconceptions detected during interviews with biochemistry students were used to create the Enzyme-Substrate Interactions Concept Inventory (ESICI) in order to be able to efficiently measure a large number of students’ understandings. The ESICI was administered to N=707 biochemistry students at 16 institutions across the United States. Twenty specific misconceptions measured by the ESICI fall within five categories: enzyme and substrate characteristics, types of complementarities, enzyme conformational change, where and to what an inhibitor binds, and how the enzyme interacts with the substrate. Four specific misconceptions were selected by more than 37% of students, and 85% of students held misconceptions in three or more categories.