Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Alternan is a unique microbial polysaccharide consisting of an alternating sequence of alpha-(1-3) and alpha-(1-6)-linked D-glucose units. Chemically related to dextran, it is produced from sucrose by a single extracellular enzyme from certain strains of the lactic-acid bacterium Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Because of its unusual linkage structure, alternan is resistant to many hydrolytic enzymes that degrade starch, dextran, and other alpha-D-glucans. The viscosity of alternan is relatively low compared with most food gums. These properties have caused us to consider alternan for a number of food- related applications, including use as a reduced-calorie bulking agent. This paper describes some recent work on the characterization and production of alternan, as well as some related work on highly branched limit dextrans.