Caister Academic Press

Exploitation of Exopolysaccharides from Lactic Acid Bacteria: Nutritional and Functional Benefits

Alan D. Welman
from: Bacterial Polysaccharides: Current Innovations and Future Trends (Edited by: Matthias Ullrich). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


The quest to find food ingredients with valuable bioactive properties has encouraged interest in exopolysaccharides (EPSs) from lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Functional food products that offer health and sensory benefits beyond their nutritional composition are becoming progressively more important in the food supply chain. Informed consumers are becoming increasingly more health conscious and more aware that disease prevention can be effected through dietary means and, more specifically, by particular components of foods. Although the sensory benefits of EPSs are now well established, more knowledge to fully understand how these polysaccharides can impact on human health and nutrition is needed. Because of the wide variation in molecular structures of EPSs, and the complexity of the mechanisms by which physical changes in foods and bioactive effects are elicited, the future commercial development of EPS-producing cultures and ingredients will depend heavily upon this platform of knowledge. In this chapter, evidence for the health properties that are attributable to LAB EPSs is reviewed, linking some of the very first findings in this area to current discoveries. Because the sensory attributes of foods are critical to their acceptance, the basis for the texture-imparting properties of EPSs is also reviewed; this section describes what is known about the basis of the structure_function relationships of EPSs, and their applications in a dairy food context. It is hoped that this chapter will stimulate interest in an area in which far more fundamental biochemical and clinical understanding is required read more ...
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