AskDefine | Define autolysis

Dictionary Definition

autolysis n : lysis (self-digestion) of tissues when they are detached from the organism

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "pathology|cytology": The destruction of an organism's cells by enzymes produced by the organism itself.
  2. The autodigestion of the tissues of an organism.
  3. The autocytolysis of blood cells.
  4. The decomposition of dead yeast cells in wine after fermentation.

Extensive Definition

Autolysis is a process by which a biological cell self-destructs. It is uncommon in adult organisms and usually occurs in injured cells or dying tissue. It occurs when a lysosome allows the digestive enzymes out of its membranes. The cell then, in effect, digests itself. The effect of autolysis is usually lessened in organelles separated from a cell using cell fractionation, usually by keeping the organelle in the same conditions it was in before removal; usually keeping organelles as 'ice-cold isotonic buffers'.
The term derives from the Greek words αυτό ("self") and λύσις ("splitting").


In the food industry, autolysis involves killing the yeast and encouraging the breakdown of the cells by enzymes. It is used to give different flavors. For yeast extract, this process is triggered by the addition of salt.
In bread baking, the term (or, more commonly, its French cognate autolyse) is used to describe a hydration rest between the mixing and kneading of the dough that allows the gluten in the dough to rest and simplifies the shaping process of the finished dough. The term was coined by French baking professor Raymond Calvel.
autolysis in Arabic: تحلل ذاتي
autolysis in German: Autolyse
autolysis in Spanish: Autolisis
autolysis in French: Autolyse
autolysis in Italian: Autolisi
autolysis in Dutch: Autolyse
autolysis in Japanese: 自己融解
autolysis in Polish: Autoliza
autolysis in Portuguese: Autólise
autolysis in Russian: Автолиз
autolysis in Swedish: Autolys
autolysis in Turkish: Otoliz
autolysis in Ukrainian: Автоліз
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