Submitted to: Review Article
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2005
Publication Date: 10/24/2005
Citation: Cote, G.L. 2005. Sweet Inspiration. Food Processing Intelligence. 2:22-24. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Many lactic acid bacteria (LAB) secrete extracellular enzymes that convert sucrose into polysaccharides. These enzymes, known as glycansucrases, use the high-energy bond present in sucrose to enable the transfer of glucose or fructose into oligomers or polymers. The best known of these is dextran, but other glucans or fructans have been explored recently for their applicability for certain food formulations. One of these, alternan, is unique in its combination of high-molecular weight, low viscosity, and resistance to enzymic digestion. Glycansucrases can also be used to make a wide variety of oligosaccharides, many of which show promise as prebiotics. This article will review current research on glycansucrases as applied to the food industry, and compare alternansucrase with other glucansucrases, including dextransucrase and levansucrase. Current impediments to commercialization and strategies for overcoming them will be discussed.