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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.
any member of a class of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis (splitting of a compound by addition of a water molecule) of starch into smaller carbohydrate molecules such as maltose (a molecule composed of two glucose molecules). Two categories of amylases, denoted alpha and beta, differ in the way they attack the bonds of the starch molecules.