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phosphatase (fos-fă-tayz) n. one of a group of enzymes capable of catalysing the hydrolysis of phosphoric acid esters. Phosphatases are important in the absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, nucleotides, and phospholipids and are essential in the calcification of bone. acid p. a phosphatase present in kidney, semen, serum, and the prostate gland. alkaline p. a phosphatase that occurs in teeth, developing bone, plasma, kidney, and intestine.
phosphatase test A test for the adequacy of pasteurization of milk. The enzyme phosphatase, normally present in milk, is denatured at a temperature slightly greater than that required to destroy the tubercle bacillus and other pathogens; therefore the presence of detectable phosphatase activity indicates inadequate pasteurization. The test can detect 0.2% raw milk in pasteurized milk.
phosphatase An enzyme that catalyses the removal of a phosphate group from an organic compound. See alkaline phosphatase.
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