Quantifying Amylase Activity (B2-1 and B2-2)
This exercise begins with a discussion of the digestive enzymes produced by the salivary glands, stomach, intestine and pancreas. The digestive system of a rodent is provided to familiarize students with anatomical features of the digestive organs of a mammal. Students are then given the opportunity to prepare enzyme extracts from pancreatic tissue and to determine the amount of amylase in the extracts and in their own saliva using the procedure described in the figure on this page. This exercise offers practical experience with enzyme extraction procedures and introduces the concept of the calibration curve for determining the levels of a specific enzyme in a complex mixture.
In the figure, starch was incorporated into an agar gel, and samples containing amylase were placed in sample wells made in the agar. After one day, the starch was stained with iodine. Areas where the starch was degraded by amylase are seen as clear rings around the wells and the diameters of the rings are proportional to the concentration of amylase.