When foods containing carbohydrates are heated, amino acids react with reducing sugars. During this reaction, the undesirable by-product acrylamide is also formed, especially in the presence of the amino acid asparagine. Acrylamide is thought to be carcinogenic and mutagenic and is therefore considered a process contaminate.
Amylases are starch-degrading enzymes and thus belong to the enzyme class of hydrolases. The various kinds of amylases differ in their reaction specificity.

α-amylases split swollen starch into water-soluble dextrins.
β-amylases are used to split starch dextrins into maltose and maltotriose.
Amylopectin is the branched component of starch and makes up 70 to 80 % of the macromolecule. In this molecule, the glucose monomers are linked by α-1,4-glycosidic bonds. In addition, branching via α-1,6-linkages occur, about every 30th glucose monomer.
Amylose is the linear component of starch, and makes up 20 to 30% of the macromolecule. In it, the glucose monomers are linked only by α-1,4-glycosidic bonds.
Asparaginase is an enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of the amino acid asparagine to aspartic acid. Thus, the use of asparaginase prevents the formation of acrylamide.
Bromelain is a plant protease originating in pineapples.
Colleganases are proteases that selectively break down collagen, the main connective tissue protein. They have traditionally been used to tenderise meat.
Dextran is a glucose polysaccharide formed by lactic acid bacteria. Its glucose monomers are linked by α-1,6-glycosidic bonds. A small amount (about 5 %) of branching via α-1,3-glycosidic bonds can also occur.
The presence of dextran in sugar beet and cane juices causes various problems during sugar manufacture and also affect the final sugar quality.
Fructooligosaccharides, FOS for short, are short-chain sugars with prebiotic functions. Prebiotics are indigestible by humans, so they reach the large intestine. Arriving there, they selectively increase the growth of health promoting bacteria, known as probiotics. Due to this health benefit, prebiotics are popularly used in the food industry.
Fructosyltransferases are used for the production of prebiotic fructooligosaccharides from sucrose. The enzyme catalyses the hydrolytic splitting of sucrose and subsequently the transfer of fructose units to another sucrose molecule or to an existing fructooligosaccharide.
Glucoamylases hydrolyse starch dextrins into individual glucose monomers.
Hemicellulose is a collective term for plant heteropolysaccharides like xylan and mannan. Hemicellulases are therefore enzymes that can break them down hydrolytically.
Invert sugar syrup
Invert sugar is an equimolar mix of glucose and fructose. Adding invert sugar syrup or creme to certain food products brings various sensory and technological benefits. Invert sugar is made by hydrolysing sucrose. Depending on the application, partially or fully inverted sugar syrup can be produced.
Invertases, also known as β-fructofuranosidases or saccharases, split sucrose hydrolytically into glucose and fructose. The special advantage of enzymatic hydrolysis of sucrose is the avoidance of undesired by-products, like colour and hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).
Lactase, or β-galactosidase, catalyses the hydrolytic break-down of lactose into glucose and galactose. It is thus used primarily in the dairy industry. However, it plays also an important role in the dietary supplement category.
Papain is a plant protease originating in papayas.
Proteases are enzymes that split the peptide bonds in proteins hydrolytically. A distinction is made between endo- and exoproteases. Endoproteases catalyse the decomposition of peptide bonds inside the protein molecule, while exoproteases split off individual amino acids at the end of the protein chain.
Protein hydrolysate
The enzymatic break-down of proteins results in a mix of peptides of different chain lengths and individual amino acids. These degradation products of proteolysis are called protein hydrolysate.
Starch is a glucose polysaccharide of plant origin. A distinction is made between linear and branched components, amylose and amylopectin, respectively.
Similar to dextran, a high content of starch in sugar cane juices and syrups causes problems during sugar manufacture and quality losses.
Transglutaminases are transferases. These enzymes are used to crosslink proteins. Transglutaminases are commonly used in meat products (restructuring of meat pieces) and dairy products (improvement of texture).