amylase am·y·lase (ām'ə-lās', -lāz')
Any of a group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of starch to sugar to produce carbohydrate derivatives.
Any of various enzymes that cause starches to break down into smaller sugars, especially maltose, by hydrolysis. There are two types of amylases, alpha-amylases and beta-amylases. In humans, an alpha-amylase known as ptyalin is present in saliva and is also produced by the pancreas for secretion into the small intestine. Beta-amylases are found in bacteria, molds, yeasts, and the seeds of plants.