Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saliva & Digestion

This year we are doing a human anatomy & physiology course which is really interesting.  Right now we are studying the digestive system & learned that saliva starts digesting your food before it gets to your stomach.  In the saliva is an enzyme called amylase & it breaks down starches. 

We did an experiment to show how amylase works on starches & it is so easy to do you can try this with your kids.   Put a piece of saltine cracker on your tongue but DO NOT CHEW....that is the hard part.  Leave it on your tongue & see what happens.  You should soon start tasting a sweet taste because the amylase breaks down the starch into sugar. 

Now do the same thing with a piece of cheese.  You will see that nothing happens because there is no starch in the cheese for the saliva to break down.  The process of breaking down starch is the beginning of chemical digestion.

 Did you also know that without saliva your taste buds won't work at all?   So try this experiment with your kids or try it yourself (I did),  & be thankful for your wonderful spit!

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