Science 8

Oligosaccharides (OSs) are complex carbohydrates composed only of carbon ( C ), hydrogen ( H ) and oxygen ( O ). They have multiple functions within human and plant cell systems, including hormonal and structural functions. Oligosaccharides will break down in the presence of various enzymes, including amylase. The function of amylase is dependent upon the availability of calcium.

Nutritionists study the digestion of two oligosaccharides (OS1 and OS2) with varying amylase and calcium levels.

Experiment 1

Nutritionists mixed 1.5 g of OS1 with 0.01 g of alpha amylase, an enzyme produced by the pancreas. The induction period (the time for the OS1 to completely break down into simple sugars) was measured and recorded in Table 1. Shorter induction periods indicate more rapid digestion. The procedure was repeated at varying levels of calcium and for OS2.

Experiment 2

The induction periods of OS1 with various levels of amylase were measured as in Experiment 1, using 5 grams of calcium. Each reaction was stopped after 45 seconds. The partial digestion of the OS1 resulted in various carbohydrates. These are noted in Table 2.

Experiment 3

The induction periods of OS1 with various levels of amylase were measured as in Experiment 1, using 0.5 grams of calcium. Each reaction was stopped after 45 seconds. The partial digestion of the OS1 resulted in the formation of various carbohydrates. The simplest of these carbohydrates is glucose, a monosaccharide. Glucose may bond together to form more complex carbohydrates. These are noted in Table 2.