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Amylase Amylase is an enzyme which breaks down starch (substrate) into sugars (product).

There are three types of amylases, -amylase, -amylase, and -amylase. Each of the three different amylases serves a different function. Alpha-Amylase (-Amylase) -Amylase is the most common amylase and it is found in the human body. When we eat, this enzyme is the first to begin the process of digestion. It is found in human saliva and when we chew our food, the salivary glands squirt out saliva, which contains -amylase and this breaks down the starches in our food into sugar. That is why if you chew something starchy for a long time, it will begin to taste sweet in your mouth. Later in digestion, the food encounters -amylase again, this time it is secreted by the pancreas and the -amylase in the pancreatic juices helps to break down any remaining starch. -Amylase is a small, stable enzyme that is resistant to unfavourable conditions. However, its optimal conditions are at a pH of 7.0 and at body temperature (37.2C). The process of the breakdown of starches (the substrate) by -amylase is a two-step process. The first step is the -amylase breaks down the starch into an oligosaccharide (between 3 and 10 sugar molecules), and then the amylase continues the breakdown process and the products are maltose and glucose. Salivary amylase is also known as ptyalin.

Beta-Amylase (-Amylase) -Amylase is primarily found in yeasts, plants, fungi and bacteria. In plants -amylase is involved in the fruit ripening process. The enzyme breaks down the starch in fruits into sugar, which results in a ripe, sweet fruit. -Amylase is also found in seeds of plants and in sweet potatoes. The product of -amylase and its starch (its substrate) is just maltose. The ideal conditions for -amylase are at a pH of 5.5 and a temperature of between 50C and 55C. -Amylase plays a huge role in the brewing of alcohol. The process begins with grains which are heated in hot water to extract the starch, then mixed with malt (germinated barley) which contains the enzyme -amylase, and this breaks down the starch into maltose. -Amylase is also used in bread making. The process is somewhat similar to the breakdown in the fermentation of alcohol. -Amylase feeds on the starch within flour and breaks it down into simple sugars and the yeast then feeds on the sugars and the products of this reaction is ethanol (alcohol) and CO2 (carbon dioxide).

Gamma-Amylase (-Amylase) -Amylase is a not so common form of amylase and its substrates are amylose and amylopectin. The product of -amylase and its substrates is glucose. The enzyme also cleaves alpha 1,6-glcosidic linkages. The optimal conditions for -Amylase are at a pH of 3.0 (amylase is more favourable towards acidic conditions) and a temperature of 45C.

-Amylase

-Amylase

-Amylase