Combined analytical techniques were used to explore the effects of alkali treatment on the multi-scale structure and digestion behavior of starches with different amylose/amylopectin ratios. Alkali treatment disrupted the amorphous matrix, and partial lamellae and crystallites, which weakened starch molecular packing and eventually enhanced the susceptibility of starch to alkali. Stronger alkali treatment (0.5% w/w) made this effect more prominent and even transformed the dual-phase digestion of starch into a triple-phase pattern. Compared with high-amylose starch, regular maize starch, which possesses some unique structure characteristics typically as pores and crystallite weak points, showed evident changes of hierarchical structure and in digestion rate. Thus, alkali treatment has been demonstrated as a simple method to modulate starch hierarchical structure and thus to realize the rational development of starch-based food products with desired digestibility.
- Abbreviation RMS regular maize starch
- G50 Gelose 50 starch