Amylases are a class of enzymes which catalyse the hydrolysis of starch and convert it into simple and soluble sugar molecules, mainly maltose (maltose is made of two glucose molecules). There are around 19 microbial enzymes which are classified as amylases.
There are two main categories of amylase which are used widely for industrial purpose- Alpha (α) amylase, Beta ( β) amylase.
Amylases are used in alcohol, food, fermentation, detergent, textile, paper and pharma industries. It is widely used in alcohol production in the liquefaction process to convert starch into glucose & fructose concentrate. While, 90% of enzymatic detergents contain amylase enzymes as it helps in removing food stains. Some of the industrial usage of amylases are:
In the liquefaction process, highly viscous starch (from corn, grains, etc) is treated with thermostable amylase enzyme which converts starch into soluble sugars, mainly into dextrins, maltose, fructose etc.
In the textile industry, fabrics (mainly cotton) are treated with starch, carboxymethyl cellulose, vegetable oils, etc. for quality improvement and increasing the strength of the fabric but these agents make it unsuitable for dyeing. So, amylases and other enzymes are used to remove these agents without compromising the quality of the fabric, this process is called desizing.
Amylases are also called dough improvers. Some of the benefits of using amylases in bakery products are:
Increases the rate of yeast fermentation
Enhances the flavor and appearance of the dough
Rise in dough is more than usual because of more gas created by yeast
Extends the shelf life of the product
Amylase enzymes are also used in detergents to remove the starchy stains on the clothes and other surfaces and they have proved very effective in it without impacting the quality and color of the fabric.
Concentrated Fructose Syrup:
Amylases are widely used for the production of concentrated fructose syrup from starch of the corn and other substrates. Concentrated fructose syrup has extensive use in the food industry, it is used in the manufacturing of soft drinks, deserts, ice cream, and other artificial sweetened products.
Chocolate syrup for chocolate making
Desizing in paper industry
Animal feed additives