1. In the present investigation with rings of everted rat small intestine, carbohydrate gelling agents (plant polysaccharides) such as guaran, pectin, tragacanth, carubin and carrageenan were employed to study their direct effect on intestinal absorption of α-methyl-d-glucoside, d-galactose, l-leucine and l-phenylalanine.

2. Inhibition was found to correlate with the viscosity of the incubation medium, a function only of the polysaccharide concentration, and was independent of other properties of the carbohydrate gelling agents.

3. Reversal of this inhibition was achieved either by washing the tissue free of polysaccharide or by raising tissue agitation.

4. Uptake kinetics in polysaccharide-containing solutions revealed a marked increase of the apparent Michaelis constant although the maximal transport capacity remained essentially unaltered.

5. Since there was no binding of the substrate by the polysaccharides under experimental conditions as judged by a membrane filtration technique, it is concluded that carbohydrate gelling agents may impair intestinal absorption by means of an increased unstirred layer resistance.

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