Starch is a major reserve carbohydrate of higher plants and occurs in the form of water-insoluble granules. It is a heterogeneous polysaccharide composed of two high molecular weight entities called amylose and amylopectin. These two polymers have different structures and physical properties. The agricultural biomass containing starch can be used as a potent substrate for production of various important bioactive compounds or products like liquid or gaseous fuels, feed proteins and chemicals by using corn, wheat, oats, rice, potato, and cassava as the important substrates. Starch as an important constituent of human diet, can also be used chemically and enzymatically processed into a variety of different products such as starch hydrolysates, glucose syrups, fructose, maltodextrin derivatives or cyclodextrins, used in food industry.
Amylases have many potential applications in a number of industrial processes, including production of glucose and fructose for syrup preparation industrial ethanol production using various starchy materials such as corn, wheat, and potatoes; Weizmann process for production for acetone and butanol by amylolytic and saccharolytic activities; lactic acid production by maltose and dextrose, which is produced from hydrolyzed corn starch; the liquifection along with gelatinization of viscus starch granules in sugar processing industry; in modern bread making techniques; in molecular biology; treatment of starch processing wastewater, etc. Amylases, especially alkaline amylases are used in detergents. To some extent, amylases are also used to supplement the diastatic activity of flour and to improve the digestibility of some of the animal feed.
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