Lactobacillus reuteri strains convert starch and maltodextrins into homo-exopolysaccharides using an extracellular and cell-associated 4,6-α-glucanotransferase

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Exopolysaccharides (EPS) of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are of interest for food applications. LAB are well-known to produce α-glucan from sucrose by extracellular glucansucrases. Various Lactobacillus reuteri strains also possess 4,6-α-glucanotransferase (4,6-α-GTase) enzymes. Purified 4,6-α-GTases (e.g. GtfB) were shown to act on starches (hydrolysates), cleaving α1→4 linkages and synthesizing α1→6 linkages, yielding isomalto-/malto- polysaccharides (IMMP). Here we report that also L. reuteri cells with these extracellular, cell-associated 4,6-α-GTases synthesize EPS (α-glucan) from starches (hydrolysates). NMR, SEC, and enzymatic hydrolysis of EPS synthesized by L. reuteri 121 cells showed that these have similar linkage specificities but generally are much bigger in size than IMMP produced by the GtfB enzyme. Various IMMP-like EPS are efficiently used as growth substrates by probiotic Bifidobacterium strains that possess amylopullulanase activity. These IMMP-like EPS thus have potential prebiotic activity and may be applied in combination with Bifidobacterium strains as synbiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2941-2952
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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