The important role of salivary α-amylase in the gastric digestion of wheat bread starch
The role of salivary α-amylase (HSA) in starch digestion is often overlooked in favour of that of pancreatic α-amylase due to the short duration of the oral phase. Although it is generally accepted that the amylase of salivary origin can continue to be active in the stomach, studies ascertaining its contribution are lacking. This study aimed to address this issue by coupling in vitro oral processing with an in vitro dynamic system that mimicked different postprandial gastric pH reduction kinetics observed in vivo following a snack- or lunch-type meal. The digestion of both starch and protein from wheat bread as well as the interplay between the two processes were studied. We have observed that the amylolytic activity of saliva plays a preponderant role hydrolysing up to 80% of bread starch in the first 30 min of gastric digestion. Amylolysis evolved exponentially and nearly superimposing curves were obtained regardless of the acidification profiles, revealing its high efficiency.