Amylase is an enzyme belonging to the hydrolase family which mainly catalyses the hydrolysis of starch.
Structure of amylase
Amylase is a protein enzyme . It is produced by the salivary glands and the pancreatic glands, and is therefore found in saliva and pancreatic juice. The two enzymes are not identical although they both belong to the class of α-amylases.
The amylases are also found in plants and micro-organisms.
Function of amylase
Amylase is a saccharidase, that is, an enzyme which hydrolyses glucose bonds. In particular, it is involved in degrading starch (famylose and amylopectin) to produce disaccharide sugars (such as maltose).
Salivary amylase is therefore responsible for the sweet taste of foods (due to the development of disaccharides) which are generally not sweet (such as rice that contains starch, which has a very weak sweetening ability).
Salivary amylase is a salivary enzyme. © PDB