What is the role of enzymes in degrading starches and sugars?

Expert Answers
trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hydrolysis is the breaking down of a complex molecule, into smaller units, with the addition of water and utilizing enzymes as organic catalysts. Many carbohydrates like disaccharides and polysaccharides, must be broken down to simple sugars or monosaccharides, so that they can be transported through the bloodstream to cells to be used for energy during respiration. Starch is a long chain of glucose molecules joined end to end by dehydration synthesis. To break the glycosidic bonds between the molecules, hydrolysis occurs. Enzymes used during these reactions are called glycosidases. Sucrose, or table sugar is a popularly consumed disaccharide.  When hydrolyzed, it yields a glucose and a fructose sugar. The enzyme sucrase is necessary to catalyze this reaction.  Lactase, another enzyme helps to hydrolyze lactose or milk sugar into simpler sugars. Amylase, an enzyme in saliva, helps to begin the digestion of starch in the mouth. Without enzymes, the breaking down or degradation of these large molecules would take too long. Enzymes allow chemical reactions to occur at a rapid pace at body temperature.

chaobas | Student

Starch is a polysaccaride, amylase help in breaking the glycosidic bond between the monosaccaride.


Starch ======> Maltose


amylase is a enzyme, it help in degradation through hydrolysis of the starch, which in turn breaks the alpha-glycosidic linkage between the monomers

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question