from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An enzyme complex found in intestinal and pancreatic juices that functions in the breakdown of polypeptides into amino acids.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A ferment discovered by O. Cohnheim in the intestinal mucosa, which is capable of causing the cleavage of acid albumins and albumoses into crystalline end-products of proteolytic digestion, but which is without effect upon the native albumins. It acts in neutral or feebly alkaline media. A similar ferment has apparently been found also in the vegetable world.


Latin ēripere, to snatch away (ē-, ex-, ex- + rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots) + (p)epsin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • The most likely and simplest explanation is that when cooked meat is ingested, all the proteins have become non-soluble and can not be made soluble except by the action of digestive juices: pepsin, trypsin and erepsin.

    Charles Richet - Nobel Lecture

  • The digestive juices [Footnote 47: The pepsin and hydrochloric acid of the stomach, the trypsin of the pancreatic juice, and the erepsin of the intestinal juice digest proteins.] of these organs change protein into soluble forms.

    School and Home Cooking


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