Dextran dextrinase and dextran of Gluconobacter oxydans

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Abstract

Certain strains of Gluconobacter oxydans have been known since the 1940s to produce the enzyme dextran dextrinase (DDase; EC2.4.1.2)—a transglucosidase converting maltodextrins into (oligo)dextran. The enzyme catalyses the transfer of an α1,4 linked glucosyl unit from a donor to an acceptor molecule, forming an α1,6 linkage: consecutive glucosyl transfers result in the formation of high molecular weight dextran from maltodextrins. In the early 1990s, the group of K. Yamamoto in Japan revived research on DDase, focussing on the purification and characterisation of the intracellular DDase produced by G. oxydans ATCC 11894. More recently, this was taken further by Y. Suzuki and coworkers, who investigated the properties and kinetics of the extracellular DDase formed by the same strain. Our group further elaborated on fermentation processes to optimise DDase production and dextran formation, DDase characterisation and its use as a biocatalyst, and the physiological link between intracellular and extracellular DDase. Here, we present a condensed overview of the current scientific status and the application potential of G. oxydans DDase and its products, (oligo)dextrans. The production of DDase as well as of dextran is first described via optimised fermentation processes. Specific assays for measuring DDase activity are also outlined. The general characteristics, substrate specificity, and mode of action of DDase as a transglucosidase are described in detail. Two forms of DDase are produced by G. oxydans depending on nutritional fermentation conditions: an intracellular and an extracellular form. The relationship between the two enzyme forms is also discussed. Furthermore, applications of DDase, e.g. production of (oligo)dextran, transglucosylated products and speciality oligosaccharides, are summarized.