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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1991 Feb 1;284(2):298-305.

A quantitative assessment of the importance of barley seed alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, debranching enzyme, and alpha-glucosidase in starch degradation.

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Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Extracts of germinated barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seeds of 41 different genotypes were analyzed for their activities of alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, alpha-glucosidase, and debranching enzyme and for their abilities to hydrolyze boiled soluble starch, nonboiled soluble starch, and starch granules extracted from barley seeds with water. Linear correlation analysis, used to quantitate the interactions between the seven parameters, revealed that boiled soluble starch was not a good substrate for predicting activities of enzymes functioning in in vivo starch hydrolysis as the extracts' abilities to hydrolyze boiled soluble starch was not correlated with their abilities to hydrolyze native starch granules. Activities of alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase were positively and significantly correlated with the seed extracts' abilities to hydrolyze all three starches. beta-Amylase was only significantly correlated with hydrolysis of boiled soluble starch. No significant correlations existed between debranching enzyme activity and hydrolysis of any of the three starches. Interactions between the four enzymes as they functioned together to hydrolyze the three types of starch were evaluated by path coefficient analysis. alpha-Amylase contributed to hydrolyses of all three starches primarily by its direct effect (noninteractive component). This direct contribution increased as the substrate progressed from the completely artificial boiled soluble starch, to the most physiologically significant substrate, native starch granules. alpha-Glucosidase contributed to the hydrolysis of boiled soluble starch primarily by its direct effect (noninteractive) yet contributed to starch granule hydrolysis primarily via its interaction with alpha-amylase (indirect effect). The contribution of beta-amylase to hydrolysis of boiled soluble starch was direct and it did not contribute significantly to hydrolysis of native starch granules.

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