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An experiment to investigate the action of saliva on starch:

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  • Essay length: 1140 words
  • Submitted: 06/06/2011
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International Baccalaureate Biology

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An experiment to investigate the action of saliva on starch:

Research question

Do enzymes in our saliva break up starch into simple

sugars (mono- or disaccharides)?

Introduction

Enzymes are globular proteins, which act as biological catalysts. They speed up reactions by binding to a substrate, such as for example the enzyme amylase, which binds to starch (a polysaccharide) in order to break it down into di- and monosaccharides. They are present in all organisms in thousand of different forms, most enzymes specific to only one substrate. An enzyme has an active site, at which it binds to a substrate, which is specific to its shape. An example for this is the enzyme amylase which catalyses the breakdown of starch, a polysaccharide for example found in potatoes. When it is digested by amylase, it will be broken down into disaccharides, which are sugars such as maltose. Then another enzyme, maltase, will break the disaccharide down into glucose, which is the monomer starch is made of.

Starch is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together. It is produced by all green plants as an energy store. It

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