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Difference Between Salivary and Pancreatic Amylase

Salivary vs Pancreatic Amylase

Our body works in wonderful and mysterious ways. We couldn’t even fathom the degree and ability that our body possesses to keep us moving and functioning well, as well as, maintaining our health and wellbeing. Most of the processes in our body rely on biological substances to jumpstart them into working normally and appropriately. Still, other processes vital for our health, such as food digestion, are assisted by the presence of these biological substances. Without them, most of the nutrients that we take in wouldn’t be broken down into its simplest form to be used up in our body. What I am referring to here are, of course, our enzymes.

Enzymes are specialized proteins that catalyze any chemical reactions. Do take note that enzymes are not only found inside our body, but can be taken from other living things, such as plants, as well. So with that, I will limit this discussion to the enzymes that are developed inside our own body. To further explain on this, enzymes help increase the rate in which chemicals are converted into other forms suitable for the body. Almost all biological processes inside our cells need enzymes for it to work. This is because each enzyme has a different function, meaning, there are specific enzymes solely for one purpose or task.

Still, there are also enzymes that work on the substances that enter our body like food particles. These enzymes target different food groups. There are enzymes that work on the carbohydrate portion, some work on proteins, while there are still others that help use up fat particles. I will focus more on amylase, which specializes on carbohydrates, and its two commonly known types, salivary and pancreatic amylase.

Salivary amylase is an enzyme that acts on the raw form of carbohydrates, starch. This enzyme is produced in the salivary glands. The salivary amylase gets mixed with the other components of saliva when food is chewed in the mouth. Partial digestion of carbohydrates is already ongoing in the mouth even before food goes into the stomach and small intestines.

On the other hand, pancreatic amylases are enzymes produced in the pancreas. The pancreas is the main digestive organ, producing powerful enzymes that help dissolve carbohydrates in the stomach and small intestines. Pancreatic amylases act more on complex carbohydrates which take longer to dissolve.

This is the main difference between the two amylases. You can read further since only basic details are provided here.


1. Enzymes catalyze or help increase the reaction rates of chemical substances. They are thus important in most cell funct of living things.

2. Salivary amylase is produced in the salivary glands and digestion of simple carbohydrates starts in the mouth.

3. Pancreatic amylase is produced in the pancreas, acting more on complex carbohydrates.

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  1. It is wrong to say that the difference is what types of carbohydrates they break down. Both break down the same exact thing. Pancreas enzymes may look like they react on complex carbohydrates but this is due to the fact that pancreatic enzymes get to stay with the carbohydrates for a longer period of time. The difference between the two actually is that they’re actually two different molecules which do the same thing. The reason they are different molecules is because they have two different optimal conditions.

  2. Be specific to the title.try to emphasize more on that rather simply writing stories

  3. hi
    please try to tabulate the difference for easy understanding. thanx

  4. Is there any difference in chemical structure of salivary & pancreatic amylase?

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