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ABSTRACT

Glucoamylase (EC 3.2.1.3) hydrolyzes polysaccharides from the nonreducing chain ends by cleaving α-1,4 and α-1,6 glycosidic bonds consecutively. Glucoamylases are used mainly in the production glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and in whole grain and starch hydrolysis for alcohol production. This paper reviews the status of glucoamylases with respect to microbial sources, biochemical and physical properties. Methods used to assay glucoamylase activity are also compared, with reference being made to the specificity of spectrophotometric methods in detecting end products of the enzyme action. Commercial glucoamylases and development of immobilization techniques are discussed. Also, structural analysis of glucoamylase and the main amino acids involved in catalysis and starch binding are emphasized. The cloning of the glucoamylase gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the brewing of low calorie beer is presented. This review highlights the use of glucoamylase in the food industry.