• synonyms


noun Biochemistry.
  1. an enzyme in the saliva that converts starch into dextrin and maltose.
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Origin of ptyalin

1835–45; < Greek ptýal(on) spittle, saliva + -in2
Also called salivary amylase.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ptyalin

Historical Examples of ptyalin

  • Amylopsin is much more powerful and rapid than the ptyalin of the saliva, especially on uncooked starch.

    The Chemistry of Food and Nutrition

    A. W. Duncan

  • It has been computed that the average daily secretion of ptyalin by an adult amounts to 116 grains.

  • One part of ptyalin, according to Mialhe, was capable of transforming 800 parts of insoluble starch into sugar.

  • Ptyalin, -e, tī′a-lin, n. the nitrogenous essential principle of saliva.

  • Amylopsin, the starch-digesting enzym, appears to be very similar to ptyalin in its power to digest carbohydrates.

    Encyclopedia of Diet

    Eugene Christian

British Dictionary definitions for ptyalin


  1. biochem an amylase secreted in the saliva of man and other animals
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Word Origin for ptyalin

C19: from Greek ptualon saliva, from ptuein to spit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

ptyalin in Medicine


  1. An amylase present in saliva that catalyzes the hydrolysis of starch into maltose and dextrin.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ptyalin in Science


  1. An enzyme found in the saliva of humans and herbivorous animals that helps in the predigestion of starches. Ptyalin is a type of amylase.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.