Saliva begins to change starch in food into ______.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Saliva in the mouth contains an enzyme called amylase that catalyzes the breakdown of dietary starch into simple sugars. This is the first chemical step in digestion. Amylase is made by the pancreas and secreted by the salivary glands.

Starch is a polymer of simple sugars. A polymer is a...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Saliva in the mouth contains an enzyme called amylase that catalyzes the breakdown of dietary starch into simple sugars. This is the first chemical step in digestion. Amylase is made by the pancreas and secreted by the salivary glands.

Starch is a polymer of simple sugars. A polymer is a very long molecule with repeating units, in this case monosaccharides or simple sugars. Amylase breaks the starch molecules into disaccharides and trisaccharides, molecules made of two and three simple sugars respectively. These molecules are further broken down into monosaccharides, mostly glucose, by other enzymes.

You may have noticed starchy foods starting to taste slightly sweet as you chew them. This is because their starch is being converted to sugar in your mouth. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team