• Diastase;
  • History;
  • Starch


Starch has been used over several millennia for a number of different applications. However, research on understanding this substance only spans about three centuries starting with Leeuwenhoek who observed it in 1716. This story of discovery of the molecular structure and architectural makeup of starch is chronicled in a series of six essays of which this is the second with a focus on diastase. Malted barley has been used in the brewing industry for millennia. However, it was not until 1833 that the active substance was identified and called diastase. Much of the research on diastase, interestingly, developed in the context of improving beer production efficiency and quality. Research in this area has given us the terms maltose, dextrin, and maltodextrin, which are still in use today. It was only in 1886 that the active substance was identified as a protein and soon thereafter as two distinct proteins. Finally, it was around mid 1900s that it was recognized that diastase contained several isoforms of the enzymes. This review on diastase spans over a period of 130 years.