|amylase (ām'ə-lās') Pronunciation Key
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.