What is the function of digestive enzymes?


-Kumudinee, Subject Matter Expert at Edumarz.

Solution: Digestive enzymes function to break down large macromolecules into smaller building blocks (simple nutrients) to facilitate their absorption. Thus digestive enzymes convert the complex food particles into smaller molecules that tissues, cells, and organs use for metabolism.

These enzymes act on a specific substrate and bring about chemical breakdown or hydrolysis of large complex molecules into small and simple monomers.

Monomers are simple molecules like glucose, amino acids, glyceraldehyde and fatty acids which can be easily absorbed and utilised for metabolic activities of the body.

Different enzymes and their functions: 

  • Amylase acts on carbohydrates like starch and converts it into simpler maltose (glucose disaccharide) molecules.

  • Protease enzymes act on protein to break it down into amino acids (building blocks of protein). There are three main protease enzymes namely trypsin, pepsin and chymotrypsin. 

  • Lipase enzyme breaks down dietary fats like milk fat into simple molecules like glycerol and fatty acids (building blocks of lipids). Small quantity of lipase is also produced by the stomach, called gastric lipase.

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