Suitability and limitations of methods for characterisation of activity of malto-oligosaccharide-forming amylases

Lene Duedahl-Olesen, Lars Haastrup Pedersen, Kim Lambertsen Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The suitability and limitations of essential methods and reference substrates used for characterisation of activity of amylolytic enzymes is investigated. Saccharogenic, chromogenic and chromatographic methods are included. The results are discussed in relation to the measurement of reaction rates, determination of action mode and product specificity and the impact on identification and nomenclature of malto-oligosaccharide-forming amylases. An accurate determination of reaction rates using the saccharogenic methods strongly depends on the degree of polymerisation (DP) of the standards used and the hydrolysis products formed by the amylase. Particularly the use of glucose as standard can lead to overestimates due to the differences in the reducing potential of glucose and malto-oligosaccharides. The reliability of the chromogenic methods for determination of action mode depends on the DP of the substrate and the specificity of the amylase. For a characterisation of the starch hydrolysis products and the variation in the DP during hydrolysis, high performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection provided a fast and reliable method. A literature survey revealed varying and inconsistent use of nomenclature of malto-oligosaccharide forming amylases. Therefore a systematic approach identifying three main classes of activity is suggested using not only the mode of action and the DP of the major product but also the stage of hydrolysis at which this product is formed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)109-119
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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