is an enzyme that acts to degrade protein; it is often referred to as a proteolytic enzyme, or proteinase. Trypsin is one of the three principal digestive proteinases, the other two being pepsin and chymotrypsin. In the digestive process, trypsin acts with the other proteinases to break down dietary protein molecules to their component peptides and amino acids. Trypsin continues the process of digestion (begun in the stomach) in the small intestine where a slightly alkaline environment (about pH 8) promotes its maximal enzymatic activity.