SALIVARY DIGESTION

Digestion begins in the mouth where the food is subjected to the mechanical process of grinding to break it up into smaller particles thus enabling the digestive juices to get at the food more readily. This also aids in mixing the salive of the mouth with the food. (Chewing or mastication is the only conscious work of digestion and all the subconscious processes depend upon how well this has been performed.) Simultaneously with the chewing of the food the digestive juice of the mouth is poured out upon and thoroughly mixed with it. Saliva, as it is called, is a colorless, tasteless ropy fluid secreted chiefly by the parotoid, submaxillary and sublingual glands. Secretions from the bucal, palatine, lingual, molar and tonsillar glands also contribute to the saliva. In man it is normally alkaline in reaction, although, during fevers, while fasting, when there are digestive disturbances, and between midnight and morning it may become acid. About 1500 grams, or between one and two quarts are secreted in twenty-four hours. Its secretion is not a simple filtration due to blood pressure but is accomplished by the action of the cells composing these glands. In common with all the cells of the body, these exercise a selective power by which they select from the blood stream the elements needed in the manufacture of saliva and reject the rest. The salivary glands are under nerve control which secures coordination. The active principle in saliva is an enzyme known as pytalin which acts upon starches (polysaccharides), converting these into a form of sugar known as dextrines (disaccharides). If saliva is put into a test tube with starch it will convert this into sugar. At low temperatures this process goes on slowly, the velocity increasing as the temperature increases until it reaches its maximum at about 37° C. Above this temperature the velocity again decreases, the enzyme being destroyed at about 70° C. Pytalin is lacking in the saliva of all carnivorous and some other animals. In these the saliva is not a true digestive juice, but acts, solely to moisten the food thus enabling the animal to swallow i Pytalin is not present in the saliva when food that does not contain starch is taken into the mouth. The tongue contains various sets of taste buds among which are proteid and starch buds. The function of taste not only affords us pleasure, but is an all important element in the subconscious process of digestion. Particularly it serves to stimulate the flow of the digestive juices, especially those of the stomach, and to suit their character to the food eaten. The nerve impulses set into motion by the taste of foods set the mechanism into action necessary to digestion. The character of food eaten determines, through the taste buds, the character of the digestive juices released to act upon it. Saliva will be poured into the mouth but no pytalin will be present if the food eaten contains no starch. Even sugar, if put into the mouth will not occasion the release of ptyatin, although, the mouth will quickly fill with saliva.t. GASTRIC DIGESTION

Pepsin is a digestive enzyme found in the gastric juice of the stomach. It changes proteins in food into substances called peptides. In chemical composition, pepsin is like other enzymes, but its effects are entirely different. Its activity is strongest in an acidic environment, such as that found in the stomach. Pepsin has no effect on fats or carbohydrates. It is produced commercially by drying the mucous lining of the stomachs of pigs and calves.

The variables for this practical are: Temperature - Increasing the temperature give the molecules more energy. Concentration of enzymes - The more enzyme there is, the more molecules there are working. PH - Different enzymes work best at different levels of pH.