Amylase vs Amylose
Starch is a carbohydrate which is categorized as a polysaccharide. When ten or higher numbers of monosaccharides are joined by glycosidic bonds, they are known as polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are polymers and, therefore, have a larger molecular weight, typically more than 10000. Monosaccharide is the monomer of this polymer. There can be polysaccharides made out of a single monosaccharide and these are known as homopolysaccharides. These can be also classified based on the type of monosaccharide. For example, if the monosaccharide is glucose, then the monomeric unit is called a glucan. Starch is a glucan like that. Depending on the way the glucose molecules attach to each other, there are branched and unbranched parts in starch. Broadly starch is said to be made of amylose and amylopectin which are larger chains of glucose.
This is a part of starch, and it is a polysaccharide. D-glucose molecules are linked to each other in order to form a linear structure called amylose. Large amounts of glucose molecules can participate in forming an amylose molecule. This number can be ranging from 300 to several thousand. When the D-glucose molecules are in cyclic form, number 1 carbon atom can form a glycosidic bond with the 4th carbon atom of another glucose molecule. This is called a α-1,4-glycosidic bond. Because of this linkage amylose has obtained a linear structure. There can be three forms of amylose. One is a disordered amorphous form, and there are two other helical forms. One amylose chain can bind with another amylose chain or with another hydrophobic molecule like amylopectin, fatty acid, aromatic compound, etc. When only amylose is in a structure, it is tightly packed because they don’t have branches. So the rigidity of the structure is high.
Amylose makes 20-30% of the structure of starch. Amylose is insoluble in water. Amylose is also the reason for the insolubility of starch. It also reduces the crystallinity of amylopectin. In plants, amylose is functioning as energy storage. When amylose is degraded into smaller carbohydrate forms as maltose, they can be used as a source of energy. When performing the iodine test for starch, the iodine molecules are fit into the helical structure of amylose, hence give the dark purple/blue color.
Amylase is an enzyme. This catalyses the breakdown of starch into smaller units. First it breaks down starch into longer chains and even can degrade till the glucose monomer. Amylase enzymes are secreted in various locations within our bodies. Saliva and pancreatic juice contain amylose in humans. Therefore, the initial starch digestion takes place in the mouth. Other than humans, bacteria, fungi and plants also contain amylase enzymes. There are different forms of amylase enzyme such as α-amylase, ß-amylase and γ-amylase. For the function of α-amylase, calcium ions are essential. When this enzyme acts on amylose, maltotriose and maltose molecules are produced as products. Also, glucose and maltose are produced with amylopectin. Salivary and pancreatic amylases are α-amylase enzymes. The form of amylase in bacteria, fungi and plants is β-amylase. This enzyme yields maltose during the starch break down. γ-amylase is specifically cleaves α-1,6-glycosidic bonds and the last α-1,4-glycosidic bond at the non reducing end of amylose and amylopectin.
What is the difference between Amylose and Amylase?
• Amylose is a polysaccharide carbohydrate and amylase is an enzyme.
• Amylase enzymes catalyze the breakdown of starch (amylose and amylopectin).
• Amylose acts as an energy storage and energy source in organisms. Amylase enzyme may help in the processes of yielding energy from amylose.