enzyme which catalyses the breakdown of starch into maltose
- Italian: maltina
A diastase (from Greek διαστασις, "separation") is any one of a group of enzymes which catalyses the breakdown of starch into maltose. It was the first type of enzyme discovered, in 1833, by Anselme Payen, who found it in malt solution. Today, diastase means any α-, β-, or γ-amylase (all of them hydrolases) that can break down carbohydrates.
The commonly used -ase suffix for naming enzymes was derived from the name diastase.