Quantitation of Amylase in Saliva and in Pancreatic Extracts

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Abstract
Knowing how food is broken down in our bodies is important to everyday life. We need food to live and amylase to break it down with. In this experiment I tested quantitation of amylase in saliva and in pancreatic extracts. Amylase is an omnipresent enzyme which occurs in both plant and animal life. Mammalian amylase (a--1,4-glucan 4-glucanohydrolase) in humans is produced in the salivary glands and pancreas. Amylase acts as a catalyst to break down the starch (carbohydrates) into smaller glucose molecules or in the case of plants cellulose. I’ve placed starch gel in a small round container and created nine wells filled with Agar gel buffer, different concentrations of pancreatic amylase, saliva, and standard pancreatic extract. In theory this should test which saliva, or amylase concentration can break down the starch. This will be recorded by the lighter or more transparent rings around each well.

Introduction
Substances that contain starch make up for the diet of most of the humans and animals on earth. Starch can be found in foods like corn, potato, rice, sorghum, wheat, and cassava. Starch molecules are glucose polymers linked together by the alpha-1,4 and alpha-1,6 glucosidic bonds. Cellulose is linked by beta-1,4 glucosidic bonds. Starch is usually insoluble in water at room temperature. In our bodies starch is stored in cells as small granules. Starch granules are resistant to penetration by both water and hydrolytic enzymes because of hydrogen bonds within the same molecule and other molecules. However, these inter- and intra-hydrogen bonds can become weak if the temperature is raised. When an aqueous suspension of starch is heated, the hydrogen bonds weaken, water is absorbed, and the starch granules swell. This process is called gelatinization because the solution formed has a gelatinous consistency. The product of gelatinization depends on which bonds in the glucose molecule are broken and can range from dextrin,...
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