food is chewed, it is mixed with saliva, which contains the digestive enzyme ptyalin (an a-amylase) secreted mainly by the parotid glands. This enzyme hydrolyzes starch into the disaccharide maltose and other small polymers of glucose that contain three to nine glucose molecules, as shown in Figure 65-1. However, the food remains in the mouth only a short time, so that probably not more than 5 per cent of all the starches will have become hydrolyzed by the time the food is swallowed.
However, starch digestion sometimes continues in the body and fundus of the stomach for as long as 1 hour before the food becomes mixed with the stomach secretions. Then activity of the salivary amylase is blocked by acid of the gastric secretions because the amylase is essentially nonactive as an enzyme once the pH of the medium falls below about 4.0. Nevertheless, on the average, before food and its accompanying saliva do become completely mixed with the gastric secretions, as much as 30 to 40 per cent of the starches will have been hydrolyzed mainly to form maltose.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.