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Proteases are a category of enzymes which attack specific bonds between amino acids and proteins. Proteases can be found in plants, animals, and microorganisms. The proteases break amino acid bonds to split up the protein molecule into smaller pieces of lined amino acids.

Examples of proteases are rennin and pepsin; these enzymes can be found in animals. Rennin is used in the thickening of milk and is isolated from the stomach of the calf; pepsin is found in the gastric juices of humans and other animals where it breaks down proteins at specific places.

Leung, Albert Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredient used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. John Wiley and Sons, NY. 409.

Stedman, Thomas Lathrop. Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 24th edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1982.