Is Maltase An Enzyme? 9 Interesting Facts (Read This First!)

Enzymes are identified as the proteins which are involved in speeding up various chemical reactions inside the body. Let us see if maltase is an enzyme or not.

Maltase is counted among the important enzymes which ensures to support regular activities within the body. It is an enzyme which facilitates the hydrolysis of maltose within the body to break into simple forms of sugar. 

Why is maltase an enzyme?

An enzyme facilitates the important chemical reactions within the body to support body activities, hence let us check if maltase is such an enzyme or not.

Maltase is an enzyme because it is among the important proteins that is found inside the body of every living being like plants, animals, humans, bacteria and yeast that works on the hydrolysis of maltose to break it into simple forms of sugar. 

Maltase is important to release the burden regarding digestion on pancreas as well as small intestine.

In the small intestine, breaking down of the complex sugars and starches would have been difficult without the help of the enzyme Maltase and hence, the enzyme helps in facilitating the process of digestion in the body in a comparatively smoother manner. 

How is maltase an enzyme? 

Every enzyme is identified as a protein which has the ability to bind to a specific substrate. Let us explore if maltose has such a property.

Maltase is an enzyme as it has the specific substrate, which is maltose. It is an important enzyme which facilitates the hydrolysis of maltose by breaking the α-glucosidase linkages. Maltase breaks the maltose, which is a disaccharide, where there are two glucose units joined with the α-glucosidase bonds. 

What kind of enzyme is maltase?

There are various types and classes of enzymes. Let us see in which type the maltase enzyme is categorised.

The Maltase enzyme is identified as the alpha-glucosidase enzyme type which is found within the brush borders of the small intestine. The alpha-glucosidase enzyme types are the ones that indulge in breaking the alpha glucoside bonds among the complex sugar compounds.

Maltase similarly breaks the disaccharide maltose, into two units of glucose to help the digestion process of our body. 

Where is maltase enzyme found?

Enzymes can be found in different parts of the body based on their roles. Let us check where the maltase enzyme is located in the living beings.

Maltase enzymes are found inside the body of every living being like plants, animals, humans, bacteria and yeast. In the human body, Maltase enzymes have been found to be synthesised by the cells that are present in the mucous membrane lining of the small intestine to support the digestive system.

Functions of maltase enzyme

An enzyme engages in performing various functions. Let us check the functions of maltase as an enzyme.

Few of the functions that can be associated with the enzyme Maltase are as follows: 

Biological functions

Maltase is a key enzyme that aids in the hydrolysis of the disaccharide maltose, by dividing it into two units of glucose

The aim of maltase is facilitating the smooth operation of the entire digestive system as it is burdening for the pancreas and small intestine alone to break down the complex set of sugar molecules within the body. 

Functions in Yeast 

The enzyme Maltase, that facilitates the hydrolysis of maltose into glucose is present in yeast which favours the process of bread making. 

The yeast cells first engage in absorbing maltose and other forms of sugar like sucrose. The maltase enzyme breaks the maltose to provide simple glucose, which is further used by yeast to ferment and produces the final product, which is bread.  

Industrial functions 

Maltose glucoamylase, under the industrial application, has been identified to be important in the brewing industry

It has been proven to be an effective source of fermentation as it has the ability to break starch into maltose and further into small units of glucose, which is used for brewing beers and sake. 

Structure of maltase enzyme

All the enzymes have different structures, hence let us focus on the structure of maltase enzyme.

The structure of Maltase is found to be a disaccharide, which has been listed under the group of intestinal enzymes called Glycoside hydrolase family 13, popularly termed as FamilyGH13.  

FamilyGH13 is a set of intestinal enzymes that are recognised to be responsible for breaking apart the α-glucosidase linkages present within complex carbohydrates in order to produce the simpler forms of glucose molecules.

There are few genes that has been identified to be coding for maltase in the body, which are as follows:

Acid alpha-glucosidase 

This type is coded on the GAA gene which is termed to be essential in breaking down complex sugars like Glycogen into simpler glucose units.


This type is coded on the MGAM which helps in the digestion of starches in the body. This enzyme supports the digestion of the starch in the human body that is consumed from plant origin. 

is maltase an enzyme
Maltase Glucoamylase from Wikimedia


This type is coded on the SI gene which has been recognised to be important for the digestion of carbohydrates, mostly starch, sucrose and isomaltose.

Alpha-amylase 1 

This type is coded on the AMY1A gene which cleaves α-glucosidase linkages among oligosaccharides and polysaccharides in order to produce the outcomes like starches and glycogen, which are then catalysed by the above set of enzymes to simpler forms of sugar like glucose. 

Is maltase enzyme a protein?

All enzymes are protein which is present inside the body. Let us check if maltase enzyme is also a protein or not.

Maltase being an enzyme, is an important form of protein in the body as all the enzymes are identified under the class of proteins. It is identified as the alpha-glucosidase enzyme type which helps in hydrolysis of maltose into two units of glucose to facilitate the process of digestion. 

What is important about a maltase enzyme?

All enzymes have definite and important roles in the body. Let us check the importance of maltase enzyme.

Maltase enzyme is important in the body to facilitate a smooth digestion process. The breaking down or digestion of the complex set of sugars like maltose is challenging for pancreas or small intestine. Maltase works as an important enzyme which helps in smoothing the functions of the overall digestive system. 

How maltase is produced and when?

Maltase has been identified to be specifically secreted by the cells present in the mucous lining of the small intestine. Let us see how and when maltase is produced in the body.

In the body, maltase enzyme is secreted during the process of digestion. The starch consumed by the body is initially digested by the enzyme amylase secreted by the salivary gland, which is further converted into simple forms of glucose by maltase. 


In conclusion, Maltase as an enzyme is identified to be important in supporting the process of digestion by helping the hydrolysis of maltose.

Sayantani Misra

Hi, I am Sayantani Mishra, a science enthusiast trying to cope with the pace of scientific developments with a master’s degree in Biotechnology. Let's connect through LinkedIn-

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