Literally meaning: “the enzyme that catalyses starch ”
Origin: Anc Greek
άμυλον/amylon(=starch) >α/a(privative, “not”) + μύλη/myle(=millstone) because this hydrocarbonate (eg from potatoes) was not ground at the mill as bread flour but it was ground by hand using water or milk.
+(-άση)/(-asy)(=-ase) enzyme suffix added to the name of the substrate that the enzyme hydrolyzes eg proteinase for protein or lipase for lipids
>διά-/dia-(=prefix denoting “through”, “apart” )
> δυο/dio(two) + στάσις/stasis(=halt) > ίστημι/histimi(=stand).
In 1826 Tiedemann and Gmelin observed that the stomachs of geese fed solely on a starch diet contained sugar. This notion helped Leuchs in 1831 to discover the amylase of saliva. Berzelius named the enzyme “ptyalin” in 1840. In 1833 Payen and Persoz performed an ethanol precipitation and isolated a white, watr soluble substance from germinating barley which named “diastase”. Diastase was later renamed amylase.
Amylase is the enzyme that catalyses the break down of starch into sugars. Specific amylase proteins are designated by different Greek letters eg a-amylase is for the breakdown of large alpha-linked polysaccharides, such as starch and glycogen.