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A diastase (/ˈdaɪəsteɪz/; from Greek διαστασις, "separation") is any one of a group of enzymes which catalyses the breakdown of starch into maltose. Alpha amylase degrades starch to a mixture of the disaccharide maltose, the trisaccharide maltotriose, which contains three α (1-4)-linked glucose residues, and oligosaccharides known as dextrins that contain the α (1-6)-linked glucose branches. Diastase was the first enzyme discovered. It was extracted from malt solution in 1833 by Anselme Payen and Jean-François Persoz, chemists at a French sugar factory. The name "diastase" comes from the Greek word διάστασις (diastasis) (a parting, a separation) because when beer mash is heated, the enzyme causes the starch in the barley seed to transform quickly into soluble sugars and hence the husk to separate from the rest of the seed. Today, diastase means any α-, β-, or γ-amylase (all of them hydrolases) that can break down carbohydrates.
The commonly used -ase suffix for naming enzymes was derived from the name diastase.
When used as a pharmaceutical drug, diastase has the ATC code A09AA01.
These days, diastase can be taken out from the barley seed even after all the beer ingredients were mixed and heated. This beneficial enzyme can also be extracted from various other sources. These include plants, saliva and milk. However, for obtaining a natural diastase there can be used numerous natural sources.
See also 
- ^ Gray, G.M. (1975). "Carbohydrate digestion and absorption". New England Journal of Medicine 292 (23): 1225–1230. doi:10.1056/NEJM197506052922308. PMID 1093023.
- ^ See:
- Robert Hill and Joseph Needham, The Chemistry of Life: Eight Lectures on the History of Biochemistry (London, England: Cambridge University Press, 1970), page 17.
- Richard B. Silverman, The Organic Chemistry of Enzyme-catalyzed Reactions, 2nd ed. (London, England: Academic Press, 2002), page 1.
- Jochanan Stenesh, Biochemistry, vol. 2 (New York, New York: Plenum, 1998), page 83.
- Robert A. Meyers, ed., Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Comprehensive Desk Reference (New York, New York: Wiley-VCH, 1995), page 296.
- ^ Payen & Persoz (1833), page 77. Payen and Persoz found diastase in the seeds of barley, oats, and wheat, as well as in potatoes (Payen & Persoz (1833), page 76).
- ^ Payen & Persoz (1833), pages 75-76.
- ^ Etymology of "diastase"
- ^ The naming of enzymes using the suffix "-ase" has been traced to French scientist Émile Duclaux (1840-1904), who intended to honor the discoverers of diastase by introducing the practice in his book Traité de Microbiologie, vol. 2 (Paris, France: Masson and Co., 1899), Chapter 1, especially page 9.
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