from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. an enzyme (formerly referred to as a ferment), which acts only in the presence of water, and which causes the substance acted upon to take up a molecule of water, resulting in the splitting of a chemical bond and often splitting one compound into two. Thus, diastase of malt, ptyalin of saliva, and boiling dilute sulphuric acid all convert starch by hydration into dextrin and sugar. Nearly all of the digestive enzymes are hydrolytic in their action. Since 1910 such an enzyme is usually referred to as a hydrolase or hydrolytic enzyme.
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