alpha-Amylase (alpha-1-4 D-glucan glucanohydrolase EC 188.8.131.52) crude extract was obtained from safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) cotyledons excised from 5-day-old dark grown seedlings. The enzyme was purified by precipitating the crude extract with ammonium sulphate at 20-60% saturation, and then by subjecting this fraction to affinity chromatography on a beta-cyclodextrin-Sepharose 6B column. The active fraction was dialysed and concentrated. An overall purification of about 131 folds with an activity yield of 81.25% was achieved. The molecular mass of purified enzyme determined by SDS-PAGE was 35 kD. When the purified alpha-amylase was subjected to gel electrophoresis followed by negative staining, only one band of active protein was detected. Its maximal activity was in the pH 6.0 and at a temperature of 55 degrees C. This enzyme was activated by Ca(2+) and inhibited by Fe(2+).