Glucoamylases hydrolyze (1,4)- and (1,6)-alpha-D-glucosidic linkages at the non-reducing ends of polysaccharides. That process yields glucose and maltose, which are suitable for fermentation by yeast.
Making beverage alcohol involves converting starch into fermentable sugars. Yeast then transforms these sugars into alcohol. Saccharification is the second enzymatic stage in the process, liquefaction being the first one. Saccharification breaks down the dextrins into simple sugars like glucose and maltose. The saccharification step is critical to the overall distiller's process. Effective saccharification ensures complete starch conversion to fermentable sugars.
In liquefaction, distillers break starch down into soluble short-chain dextrins. After leaving the cooking line, the heat exchangers cool the mash down. Then distillers add a glucoamylase.
During saccharification or simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) the glucoamylases target starch-containing substrates. They hydrolyze (1,4)- and (1,6)-alpha-D-glucosidic linkages at the non-reducing ends of polysaccharides. That breaks the dextrins down further, yielding glucose and maltose.
After saccharification, yeast converts glucose and maltose into alcohol during the fermentation process.
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