The action of branching enzyme (EC 2.4.l.l8) from Bacillus stearothermophilus on amylose was analyzed. The enzyme reduced the molecular size of amylose without increasing the reducing power. This result could not be explained by the normal branching reaction model. When the product was treated with glucoamylase (an exo++-type amylase), a resistant component remained. The glucoamylase-resistant component was easily digested by an endo-type alpha-amylase or by isoamylase plus glucoamylase. These results suggested that the glucoamylase-resistant component was a cyclic glucan composed of alpha-1,4- and alpha-l,6-glucosidic linkages. In other words, it was suggested that branching enzyme catalyzed cyclization of the alpha-l,4-glucan chain of the amylose molecule to form an alpha-l,6-glucosidic linkage, thereby forming two smaller molecules. Mass spectrometry also supported the cyclic nature of the product.