Structural understanding of the degradation of glucose polymers (2013–2016)
Starch and glycogen are complex branched polymers of glucose, with multiple structural features covering a wide range of length scales. They are degraded by enzymes in human digestion and in maintaining blood sugar levels. This project will develop the first comprehensive mechanistic understanding of these breakdown processes and how they affect important functional properties (e.g. digestion rate, palatability, controlling blood glucose), using a range of new experimental and theoretical approaches. Mechanistic postulates will be tested and refined against data which are sensitive to these postulates: the changes in multidimensional polymer size distributions and conformations during the breakdown processes.