Who Discovered Enzymes?

French scientist Anselme Payen discovered the enzyme diastase in 1833. Payen, a chemist, later isolated diastase into its concentrated form. Diastase breaks down maltose, a starch, into dextrose, and the enzyme is commonly found in malt, barley and the human pancreas.

Payen, born on Jan. 6, 1795, was also credited for the discovery of cellulose, a carbohydrate that is the most abundant organic compound, while analyzing wood. He was also credited for the discovery of pectin and dextrin. Payen also developed a process in which to manufacture borax from boric acid, which helped put an end to the Dutch monopoly on the product.