New Molecules From Starch
ARS scientists discovered new molecules from alternan. Alternan is a water-soluble gum that is being considered as a replacement for imported gum arabic, and as a low-calorie bulking agent in foods. These products were found to be cyclic (ring-shaped) sugars, which is very unusual for compounds of this type. Our previous studies reported on the production of these ring-shaped sugars from alternan. We have now found that they can also be produced from other sugars, including some derived from starch. This work shows that these novel and potentially useful compounds can be produced not only from cane and beet sugar, but also from starch and starch-derived materials. These small ring-shaped molecules are under investigation as noncaloric bulking agents, and may also have medical applications. Potential medical applications include MRI contrast agents and complexing agents for metals. This technology could potentially be useful to the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.
Please refer to USPN 6,562,600, "Production of Cyclic Alternan Tetrasaccharides from Oligosaccharide Substrates," which issued on May 13, 2003.
Gregory L. Cote
Biopolymer Research, NCAUR
Peoria, Illinois 61604
(309) 681-6319 / Fax: (309) 681-6689