What is Amylase? What Types of Amylases Are There?

Amylase is an enzyme preparation closest to our lives. Usually, when we chew steamed bread or rice, we will feel a little sweet. This is because the amylase in saliva hydrolyzes starch into monosaccharides. After the food enters the gastrointestinal tract, the amylase secreted by the pancreas is hydrolyzed, and the formed glucose is absorbed by the small intestine wall and becomes a nutrient for human tissues, which is the role of amylase. Do you know the types of amylase?

1. The meaning of amylase

Amylase is a general term for enzymes that hydrolyze starch and glycogen. It has the specificity of enzyme preparations. Its main mechanism of action is to hydrolyze starch into maltose, glucose, dextrin, etc. To understand amylase, start with understanding starch. Starch is a storage polysaccharide stored in cells in the form of starch granules during plant growth. It exists in seeds and tubers. For example, the starch content of wheat is 70% and that of rice is 80%.

2. Types of amylase

(1) According to the different positions of hydrolyzed starch: it can be divided into alpha amylase enzyme, β-amylase, γ-amylase and isoamylase.

(2) According to the source of microorganisms: it can be divided into bacterial amylase, fungal amylase.

(3) According to the reaction temperature: it can be divided into medium temperature amylase and high temperature amylase. The medium temperature amylase is at 70℃, and the high temperature amylase is at 90~105 ℃.

Alpha amylase enzyme is mainly produced by fermentation and purification of Bacillus subtilis, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus oryzae and Rhizopus. It is divided into fungal alpha amylase enzyme and bacterial alpha amylase enzyme due to different sources. It is called starch 1,4-dextrinase according to its function. The host mechanism is that it can cut the α-1,4-glycosidic bond inside the starch chain and hydrolyze the starch into maltose, oligosaccharides containing 6 glucose units and oligosaccharides with branched chains. For example, in the processing of flour products, adding fungal α-amylase can enhance the reproductive capacity of yeast and shorten the fermentation time of bread dough.

β-amylase is mainly purified by fermentation of Aspergillus, Rhizopus and Endosporium, also known as starch 1,4-maltosidase and high maltase. It can cut 1,4-glycosidic bond from the non-reducing end of starch molecule to generate maltose. The products of this enzyme acting on starch are maltose and limit dextrin. It is used to produce starch sugar, maltose syrup, caramel, high maltose syrup and maltitol, and it can replace the fungus alpha amylase enzyme to save cost.

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