Bread, wine and beer have long been part of human social functions. Fungal amylase is an enzyme that is used in the production of these and certain other foods and beverages. The amylase chemical compound is produced by living cells that are derived from Aspergillus oryzae, a fungus that is used for the production of many things, such as soy sauce and sake.
Fungal amylase comes as a small-grain, odor-free powder. When dissolved in water, the amylase activates elements that begin the process of fermentation. When the process needs to be stopped manually, raising the water temperature to 80° Fahrenheit (26.7° Celsius) and maintaining it there for 15 minutes deactivates the amylase. This amylase has a shelf life as long as 12 months when stored in a cool, dry place.
The food and beverage industry uses this substance in many ways. It is used for starch liquefaction and for the breaking down of carbohydrates into smaller elements. Fungal amylase also is used to produce maltose and glucose. These processes and their resulting byproducts aid in the production of beer, wine and other food substances such as bread.
Beer and alcohol breweries boost the level of production by using amylase as a supplement to malts and other grains. In other alcohols, such as wine, the fermentation of some main ingredients causes cloudiness in the liquid. The use of this enzyme helps in the clarifying of fruit juices and eliminates this cloudiness.
The baking industry uses fungal amylase over synthetic chemicals to produce a more organically desirable product. Amylase increases sugars in the fermentation process of yeast. The use of this amylase also improves the quality of bread because it breaks down starches and produces maltose sugar. Flour and dough conditions then become more consistent and stable.
As dough is produced, the fermentation process involving the sugars and the yeast creates the byproducts of alcohol and carbon dioxide. This creates the rising action of the dough. As the process continues, however, the stores of sugar are depleted, and fermentation stops.
The addition of fungal amylase ensures the continuation of fermentation as long as needed. This makes it easier to work with the bread dough. It rises better, and when it bakes, the bread has better color and softer texture. The use of the enzyme also decreases the crumbly nature of breads.