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Amylase vs. Amylose: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 9, 2024
Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugars, while amylose is a type of starch composed of long, unbranched chains of glucose molecules.

Key Differences

Amylase is an enzyme that plays a crucial role in the digestion of carbohydrates, specifically in breaking down starches into simpler sugars. In contrast, amylose is a type of carbohydrate, a polysaccharide that is a key component of starch. While amylase acts as a catalyst in biochemical reactions, amylose serves as a source of energy when digested. The action of amylase on amylose is essential in the digestive process, breaking down amylose into maltose and glucose.
Amylase is produced primarily in the salivary glands and the pancreas, initiating the digestion of starches in the mouth and continuing in the small intestine. Amylose, a linear polymer of glucose, is found in plants, particularly in tubers and seeds, where it serves as a storage form of energy. The interaction between amylase and amylose begins in the mouth, where amylase starts breaking down the amylose chains. The structure of amylose, with its long glucose chains, makes it a suitable substrate for amylase action.
There are different types of amylase, such as salivary amylase and pancreatic amylase, each with a specific role in the digestion process. Amylose, on the other hand, is characterized by its helical structure, which is less branched compared to amylopectin, another component of starch. The action of amylase on amylose involves cleaving the α-1,4 glycosidic bonds in amylose. This process transforms amylose from a complex carbohydrate into simpler sugars, which are more easily absorbed by the body.
The efficiency of amylase in breaking down starches like amylose can be affected by factors such as pH and temperature. Amylose, being a less branched form of starch, is typically more resistant to digestion than its branched counterpart, amylopectin, but still readily acted upon by amylase. The breakdown of amylose by amylase results in the production of maltose and glucose, which are important energy sources for the body. This biochemical reaction is vital for the conversion of dietary starches into usable energy forms.
Amylase and amylose are integral to the process of carbohydrate digestion, with amylase facilitating the breakdown of amylose into simpler sugars. While amylase is a biological catalyst, amylose is a form of carbohydrate that stores energy in plants. The interaction between amylase and amylose is a key part of the digestive process, ensuring the conversion of complex carbohydrates into simpler forms that can be absorbed and utilized by the human body.

Comparison Chart




Breaks down starch into simpler sugars
Serves as a storage form of glucose


Pancreas, Salivary Glands

Role in Digestion

Essential for carbohydrate digestion
Slowly digested, impacts blood sugar


Long, unbranched glucose chains

Amylase and Amylose Definitions


Amylase is produced in the human pancreas and salivary glands.
Her salivary glands secrete amylase to begin starch digestion in the mouth.


Amylose is a key component of starch in plants.
The high amylose content in this rice makes it less sticky.


Amylase converts starch into simpler sugars.
Amylase in the digestive system turns the starch from potatoes into glucose.


Amylose consists of long, unbranched chains of glucose molecules.
Amylose's structure, a long glucose chain, contributes to its properties.


Amylase is crucial for breaking down carbohydrates in food.
The amylase in your saliva starts digesting the bread as soon as you chew it.


Amylose is a significant source of dietary fiber.
Foods high in amylose, like certain beans, are good for gut health.


Elevated amylase levels can indicate pancreatic issues.
The doctor checked his amylase levels to assess his pancreatic function.


Amylose-rich foods have a lower glycemic index.
Choosing amylose-rich foods can help manage blood sugar levels.


Amylase, a protein, facilitates chemical reactions in the body.
Amylase, like other enzymes, is a specialized protein that aids digestion.


Amylose serves as a form of energy storage in plants.
Plants store glucose as amylose for later use.


Any of a group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of starch to sugars. In humans, amylases are produced in the salivary glands and the pancreas.


A linear, unbranched polysaccharide that is one of the two main components, along with amylopectin, of starches.


(enzyme) Any of a class of digestive enzymes, present in saliva and also contributed to the gut by the exocrine pancreas, that break down complex carbohydrates such as starch into simpler sugars such as glucose.
Egg yolk amylase


(carbohydrate) The soluble form of starch (the insoluble form being amylopectin) that is a linear polymer of glucose.


Any of a group of proteins found in saliva and pancreatic juice and parts of plants; help convert starch to sugar


One of the starch group (C6H10O5)n of the carbohydrates; as, starch, arabin, dextrin, cellulose, etc.


Is amylase found in all foods?

No, amylase is an enzyme produced by the body, not found in foods.

Can amylase deficiency affect health?

Yes, amylase deficiency can lead to digestive problems.

Is amylose good for health?

Yes, its structure makes it beneficial for digestive health and blood sugar control.

What is amylase?

Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugars.

Where is amylase produced?

It is produced in the pancreas and salivary glands.

How does amylose contribute to diet?

Amylose is a significant component of dietary fiber.

What does amylase do in digestion?

Amylase catalyzes the conversion of starch to simple sugars in digestion.

What is amylose?

Amylose is a type of starch made of long, unbranched chains of glucose.

Do all plants contain amylose?

Most plants contain amylose, but the amount varies.

Where is amylose found?

Amylose is found in plants, serving as a storage form of glucose.

How does amylase interact with amylose?

Amylase breaks down amylose into simpler sugars during digestion.

Are there different types of amylase?

Yes, including salivary amylase and pancreatic amylase.

Can amylase levels indicate health issues?

Yes, abnormal amylase levels can indicate pancreatic or digestive issues.

Does amylose have a specific dietary benefit?

Foods rich in amylose have a lower glycemic index and are good for blood sugar management.

Can amylase break down all forms of starch?

Yes, amylase can break down various forms of starch, including amylose.

Can people have allergies to amylase?

It's rare, but some may have sensitivities to amylase supplements.

Does cooking affect amylose?

Yes, cooking can make amylose more digestible.

Is amylose digestible?

Yes, but it digests slower than other forms of starch, beneficial for blood sugar control.

Are there supplements for amylase and amylose?

Amylase supplements are available, but amylose is typically consumed through diet.

How is amylose different from other starches?

Amylose has a unique long, unbranched chain structure, different from branched starches.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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