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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 1 (2005) pp 26-28

Testing Human Saliva for Enzyme Activity: Use of an In-Class Kinetic Experiment for Nonscience Majors in a Large Classroom Setting

Marjorie A. Jones* and Christopher L. Cooper

Department of Chemistry, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4160,
Received September 22, 2004. Accepted November 29, 2004.

Published online: 18 January 2005

Abstract. Nonscience students participated in an in-class experiment using an enzyme in their saliva known as amylase. The enzyme reacts with the high-molecular-weight glucose polymer starch, releasing small-molecular-weight oligosaccharides. Because high-molecular-weight starch and iodine yield a blue color, the loss of color indicated enzyme activity. Students reported that this inexpensive experiment increased their understanding of enzymes.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; biochemistry; nonscience majors; enzyme kinetics; human saliva; amylase

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (237 KB) HTML format

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A student consent form and survey form for this experiment are available in a Zip file (44 KB).

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Issue date: February 1, 2005

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