Caister Academic Press

Synthesis and utilization of exopolysaccharides and prebiotics

Sandra Macfarlane, Katie E. Blackett and George T. Macfarlane
from: Bifidobacteria: Genomics and Molecular Aspects (Edited by: Baltasar Mayo and Douwe van Sinderen). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)


Many bacteria and fungi secrete exopolysaccharides (EPS), which have been demonstrated to have significant ecological, physiological and pathological functions in the human body. These substances have also been harnessed for industrial purposes, and are widely used in the food industry. EPS formation has been studied extensively in various species of lactic bacteria, but relatively few investigations have been performed on these processes in bifidobacteria. However, although yields are generally low in comparison to other microorganisms, studies have shown that various bifidobacterial species secrete rhamnose-, glucose- and galactose-based EPS that have immunopotentiating activities, anti-mutagenic properties and the ability to promote or inhibit adhesion of other organisms to mucosal surfaces. Bifidobacteria have also been found to utilize the polymers they produce, as well as those formed by other microbial species, suggesting that these molecules may have prebiotic properties. Bifidobacterial communities in the large intestine are not only targets for prebiotics, but β-galactosidases produced by different species have been used to synthesise galacto-oligosaccharides with enhanced selectivity for the producing organisms read more ...
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