Amylolytic enzymes | Types, Function, Source, Applications, Mechanism

Amylolytic enzymes are a group of enzymes that break down starch molecules into simpler sugars, such as maltose and glucose. They are also called starch hydrolases or alpha-amylases. These enzymes are produced by bacteria, yeast, fungi, and plants, and play a key role in the digestion of carbohydrates in the human gut. In the food industry, amylolytic enzymes are used for the production of maltodextrin, glucose syrup, and high fructose corn syrup, as well as for the improvement of the texture and quality of baked goods.


There are three main types of amylolytic enzymes: alpha-amylases, beta-amylases, and glucoamylases.

  1. Alpha-amylases break down starch into maltose, a disaccharide, by randomly cleaving the alpha-1,4 bonds in the starch molecule.
  2. Beta-amylases cleave the alpha-1,4 bonds in the starch molecule but only do so in a specific place, resulting in the release of maltose.
  3. Glucoamylases break down the glucose chains produced by alpha-amylases and beta-amylases into glucose, which can be fermented into other products.

These enzymes play important roles in industries such as food and beverage production, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels.


Amylolytic enzymes are enzymes that break down carbohydrates, specifically starch and glycogen, into simple sugars such as glucose. The main function of amylolytic enzymes is to catalyze the hydrolysis of alpha-1,4-glucosidic bonds in starch molecules, leading to the formation of simpler glucose units. This process is called starch hydrolysis.

There are three main types of amylolytic enzymes: alpha-amylases, beta-amylases, and glucoamylases. Alpha-amylases break down starch into maltose, while beta-amylases break down maltose into glucose. Glucoamylases hydrolyze alpha-1,4-glucosidic bonds to release glucose units from the non-reducing end of the starch molecule.

Amylolytic enzymes play an important role in many biological processes, including digestion, fermentation, and the production of biofuels. They are also widely used in the food industry for the production of syrups, beers, and other food and beverage products.


Amylolytic enzymes can be found in a variety of sources, including plants, animals, and microorganisms. They can also be produced commercially for various applications.


Amylolytic enzymes are mainly used in the food industry for the production of sweeteners, such as glucose and maltodextrin, from starch. They are also used in the production of ethanol, a biofuel, from corn, cassava, and other starchy feedstocks.

In addition, amylolytic enzymes are used in the textiles industry for modifying starch-based textiles and in the paper industry for converting starch into a soluble form to enhance its use as a sizing agent.

Furthermore, amylolytic enzymes play a role in the brewing and distillation industries, as they are used to convert the starch in malted barley into fermentable sugars that are then used to produce beer and whiskey.

Lastly, they are used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries as thickening agents and as enzymes for glucose determination in blood and urine samples.


The mechanism of amylolytic enzymes, also known as starch-degrading enzymes, involves the hydrolysis of starch into simpler sugars, such as glucose. These enzymes work by breaking down the alpha-1,4 glycosidic bonds in the starch molecule, releasing the individual glucose units. The process starts with the binding of the enzyme to the starch molecule, followed by the formation of a covalent bond between the enzyme and the starch molecule at the site of a glycosidic bond. Then, the bond is hydrolyzed, breaking the starch molecule into smaller fragments. The process continues until all the glycosidic bonds have been cleaved, yielding the final product of simple sugars.

pH and temperature

The activity of amylolytic enzymes is influenced by pH and temperature, and optimal conditions for activity vary among different enzymes.

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