Amylose is one of the important forms of resistant starch, which is known for its higher resistance to digestion, as compared to any other form of starch. It is basically a kind of linear polymer composed of D-glucose units. The two main components include polysaccharide and amylopectin, with the former making up around 20% to 30% and the latter constituting around 70% to 80% of the total structure. It is due to this closely packed structure that increases the resistance of amylose to digestion. Further, the fiber requirements of the human body are met quite effectively with the help of consuming foods enriched with high amylose content.
The properties of amylose have been discussed as follows:
- Amylose does not get dissolved in water.
- The starch can easily be infiltrated from water.
- The gel strength and the expansion potential, with respect to same starch concentration, are on the lower side in case of higher amylose content. With the help of increasing the size of the granule, this can be countered to some extent.
- Amylose is available in three different types of polymorphs viz. A-, B-, and C-, with each type corresponding to the A-, the B-, or the C- form of starch. The water content and helical crystal structure differ in both A- and B- forms, whereas in case of C- structure, it is a combination of A- and B- units, consequently causing the packing density to be of intermediate nature between both the forms.
- Amylose is one of the important ingredients, which helps in storing energy in plants. Around 30% of stored starch in the plants constitutes amylose.
- Amylose contains a digestive enzyme, called α-amylase, which carries out the function of breaking down starch molecules into maltose and maltotriose, which in turn can be utilized as energy sources.
- In culinary and industrial applications, amylose acts as a very important thickening agent, emulsion stabilizer, gelling agent, and water binder. Wheat, rice, and maize are a few food products which contain amylose. The starch is usually found in small quantities in wheat. Therefore, an individual might have to consume significant amount of wheat or wheat based products to acquire adequate level of amylose for digestive benefits. Due to advancement in technology, “new wheat”, with higher amylose level, has been produced, which is believed to be beneficial for diabetic and heart patients.
A Few Important Aspects
A few important aspects related to amylose have been listed hereunder:
- The crystallization of the amylose results in loss of stability, thus resulting in release of some water.
- As soon as the concentration of the ingredient is increased, the gel stickiness is reduced; however, the firmness of gel is increased.
- Any binding with amylose can affect the viscosity of the product.
- The function of the ingredient as a water binder can help in adding substance to the food product, which possibly serves like a fat substitute. A very good example says that amylose helps in thickening the sauce when added during the preparation process; however, as the sauce cools down, there is a slight separation between the water and the solid.
A few benefits associated with amylose have been discussed as under:
- Rice varieties enriched with high amylose have low glycemic load, consequently proving to be good for diabetic patients.
- Being a resistant digestive starch, the ingredient is considered to be a healthy nutrient, as it helps in destroying the lactic acid which is associated with large intestine’s bacteria.
- The health of colon can be improved with the help of intake of foods enriched with amylose. The risk of being affected by colorectal cancer is also reduced as a result.
- The deficiency of fiber in the human body is met with the help of ingestion of amylose. Hi-maize, which is a high amylose product, is a very good example, which helps in meeting the fiber requirements of the human body.