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MCAT Question A Day - 4/30/14 - Answer!

Like cellulose, chitin is a polysaccharide that cannot be digested by animals. Chitin differs from cellulose by possessing an acetyl-amino group at the second carbon. What molecule is a reactant in the breaking of the beta-1,4-glycoside linkages of cellulose and chitin?

A.  water
B.  oxygen
C.  alpha-l,4-glucosidase
D.  beta-1,4-glucosidase

A is correct. Both alpha and beta linkages in polysaccharides are hydrolyzed by adding water. The question asks for a reactant; choices C and 0 are enzyme catalysts which are never reactants.

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