The aim of our research is to use enzymatic and microbial systems for the production of new or modified carbohydrates with useful properties. We use microbial enzymes to synthesize, modify and degrade polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. Our work also entails structural analysis of complex carbohydrates. We have studied the metabolism of complex carbohydrates by bacteria, fungi, and algae. This work has led to industrial, medical, food, and agricultural applications of complex plant and microbial carbohydrates and their derivatives.
Some accomplishments include:
· Discovery of novel cyclic oligosaccharides. These are being test-marketed in Japan as functional food ingredients and for biomedical applications.
· Helped elucidate structure of new food fiber additive "Fluffy Cellulose". As part of a team effort, this work led to one of Research & Development Magazine's Top 100 Invention Awards of 1989.
· Co-invented technologies that use complex dextrans to protect metals from corrosion.
· Invented new oligosaccharides with selective Bifidogenic (prebiotic) properties.
· Invented and helped develop technologies that led to the commercial low-glycemic sweetener Sucromalt, first marketed in 2006. This work earned two national Technology Transfer Awards in 2007 and 2008.