Carbohydrate Digestion

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Amylase (produced in the mouth and pancreas) hydrolyses the alternate glycosidic bonds of the starch molecule to produce maltose (which is a disaccharide).

Maltose is then hydrolysed into alpha glucose (monosaccharide) by maltase (produced in the lining of the intestine).

The process of starch digestion in humans:

  • Food is chewed, giving it a large surface area.
  • Saliva mixes with food during chewing.
  • Saliva contains salivary amylase (starts to hydrolyse starch into maltose). Salivary amylase also contains salts to help it maintain pH at neutral which is the optimum pH for salivary amylase.
  • Food is swalloed and enters stomach --> stomach acid denatures amylase to prevent further hydrolysis of starch.
  • Food is passed into small intestine --> mixes with pancreatic juice.
  • Pancreatic amylase hydrolyses remaining starch to maltose. Alkaline salts are produced by pancreas and intestinal wall to maintain pH around neutral.
  • Muscles in intestine wall push food along…


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