What is Amylase? Its use in Food Products, Advantages, FDA Approval

What is Amylase?

Amylase as the name suggest (ase in last) an enzyme which hydrolyzes starch into simple sugars. In other words, Amylase is a protein made by your pancreas and by glands in and around your mouth and throat. It helps you break down carbohydrates and starches into sugar. It is used in baking products to increase volume, texture and flavor, and to retard bread staling.

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Types of Amylase:

Two categories of amylases, denoted alpha and beta, differ in the way they attack the bonds of the starch molecules.


They are widespread among living organisms. In the digestive systems of humans and many other mammals, an alpha-amylase called ptyalin is produced by the salivary glands, whereas pancreatic amylase is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine.


They are present in yeasts, molds, bacteria, and plants, particularly in the seeds. They are the principal components of a mixture called diastase that is used in the removal of starchy sizing agents from textiles and in the conversion of cereal grains to fermentable sugars.

Amylase Uses in Food Products

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There are three main kinds of amylase:

  1. α-amylase is endoamylase. It randomly hydrolyzes the α-1,4 linkages of starch, yielding low molecular-weight sugars and dextrins. It is optimally active at pH 5.3.
  2. β-amylase attacks the second linkage from the non-reducing end of the straight segments of starch molecules and produces maltose. Its optimal pH is approximately 5.5.
  3. Glucoamylase hydrolyzes α-1,4 linkages from the non-reducing ends of starch molecules and releases glucose. It also has low activity on α-1,6 linkages of starch; therefore, it can completely convert starch to glucose. Both β-amylase and glucoamylase are exo-amylases.

Apart from this Amylase also functions as:

  • to increase volume of food products,
  • to Increase texture and flavor of food products
  • Retard bread staling

Side Effects of Amylase or Over dose of Amylase in Body

It’s normal to have some amylase in your blood. But too much of it could mean one of the ducts (tubes) in your pancreas is blocked or injured. Symptoms of this may include:

  • Belly pain — usually around your navel — that doesn’t go away
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

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FDA Approval on Amylase

One amylase is regulated GRAS by the FDA in GRN No.79. It is produced by Novozymes. Amylase need not be labelled when used in baking, because it is denatured after baking, according to article 21CFR101.100 in the Code of Federal Regulations.

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