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BIOL 130L (29)


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University of Waterloo
Cecile Deveax

Titles: Hydrolysis of Starch by salivary amylase Introduction: Amylase is an enzyme that is present in saliva. It catalyzes the hydrolysis of the glycosidic linkages in starch. The effect of enzyme concentration, substrate concentration, and temperature, pH, and heavy metal cations on the activity of this enzyme is investigated. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for metabolic reactions. They increase the rate of the reaction but do not influence the kind or amount of products formed. In general, each metabolic reaction has to be catalyzed in the living organism by its own special enzyme. The existence of enzymes in biological materials can be demonstrated by the effects they bring about. In the experiment, digestive enzymes capable of breaking down such polysaccharides as starch are studied. Food materials must be broken down by digestion before they can be absorbed and utilized by the body. If an organism has no enzyme capable of attacking a particular type of carbohydrate, protein or fat, that particular substance will have no food value for the organism. Carbohydrates and fats can be broken down by strong acids or bases. However, digestive enzymes can accomplish the same breakdown under conditions compatible with life, that is, at moderate temperatures and physiological pH ranges. This experiment was performed to observe the process by which salivary amylase breaks down starch into maltose. Starch is a complex polysaccharide that when broken down into simpler substance forms a disaccharide. The
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