Heteropolysaccharides from Lactic Acid Bacteria


Exopolysaccharides produced  by  lactic  acid  bacteria have  tremendous  value  in  the  development  of  new functional foods. Different types of exopolysaccharides produced vary in monomer composition, molecular weight and structure. This review focuses on the heteropolysaccharides produced by lactic acid bacteria. The huge diversity of  heteropolysaccharides  presents  several  applications  in  food  industry.  Here we  report  heteropolysaccharides produced by lactic acid bacteria along with their characteristics and applications.

Lactic  acid  bacteria  (LAB)  produce  a  wide  variety  of exopolysaccharides  (EPS)  and  oligosaccharides  that  have  immense food applications. EPS can be used as prebiotics. Prebiotics are food ingredients  that  cannot  be  digested  other  than  by  some specific bacteria  and  are  involved  in  selectively  stimulating  the  growth  of probiotics  to benefit  the  health  of  the  host.  Oligosaccharides  are carbohydrate  polymers  of  monomeric  residues  with  degrees  of polymerization (DP) between 2 and 10 linked by O-glycosidic bonds they can also be the degradation product of their related EPS.

There has been a marked increase in the use of HePS produced by LAB in the last decade. The enormous variation in the composition and structure of HePS allows it to be a versatile microbial product for diverse applications. The only drawback of HePS as compared with the more studied HoPS, is that the ability of HePS production in some strains  is  variable  at  the  genetic  level.  Nonetheless  HePS  helps  in survival of probiotic LAB in harsh environment such as of the human GI tract. The application of HePS as a viscosifier and texture enhancer is  widely  known.

The  HePS  also  confers  the  immunomodulating effects, cholesterol lowering effect and inhibits α-amylase, which are some of its health beneficial functions. However the majority of LAB produce  a  very  low  level  of  HePS  as  compared  to  HoPS  therefore optimized methodologies are required for enhanced HePS production and for their recovery from fermentation broth.

Joise Angelina
Journal of Probiotics and Health
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