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Student Activity - Salivary amylase and starch

Activity idea

In this activity, students investigate the action of salivary amylase on starch present in cooked rice. Simple tests for starch and its digestion product, maltose, are applied.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • use simple chemical tests to identify soluble starch and reducing sugars like glucose and maltose
  • safely use their own salivary amylase
  • explain in simple terms how the enzymatic digestion of starch occurs
  • recognise the need for careful control of variables such as temperature and amount of reactant in activities of this type
  • describe how high temperatures can inactivate enzymes like amylase.

Download the Word file (see link above) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • student worksheets.


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