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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 9;50(21):5781-6.

Amylolytic activity in fruits: comparison of different substrates and methods using banana as model.

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Laboratório de Química, Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular de Alimentos, Departamento de Alimentos e Nutrição Experimental-FCF, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Prof. Lineu Prestes 580, Bloco 14, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Several methodologies have been developed for cereal amylolytic activity estimation, but there is lack of information about the application of these methods for fruits. Mature green banana fruit can achieve 20% of starch content which is degraded during the ripening period in a complex process involving alpha- and beta-amylases and alpha-1,4 and alpha-1,6-glucosidases, besides phosphorylases that can compete for the same substrates. Methods used to determine total hydrolytic activity and individual activity of enzymes involved in starch breakdown were compared for banana extracts in several ripening stages. Total hydrolytic activity was measured by DNS and iodometric methods. Endoamylolytic activity on amylose-azure substrate was also evaluated. BPNPG7 and PNPG5 chromogenic substrates were used for alpha- and beta-amylase activities, respectively. The results showed that methods that depend on the use of thermal treatment or on inhibitors to inactivate one of the enzymes were not adequate. The use of p-nitrophenol derivatives seemed to be the most specific, reproducible, and easiest method employed for single alpha- and beta-amylases activities determination in complex tissues. The DNS and iodometric methods can be used only for initial screenings of total hydrolytic activity, because the nonspecific substrate used in these procedures allows the action of more than one enzyme simultaneously.

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