Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 517–524 | Cite as

A novel acid-stable, acid-active β-galactosidase potentially suited to the alleviation of lactose intolerance

  • Shane O’Connell
  • Gary Walsh
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


Extracellular β-galactosidase produced by a strain of Aspergillus niger van Tiegh was purified to homogeneity using a combination of gel filtration, ion-exchange, chromatofocusing, and hydrophobic interaction chromatographies. The enzyme displayed a temperature optimum of 65 °C and a low pH optimum of between 2.0 and 4.0. The monomeric glycosylated enzyme displayed a molecular mass of 129 kDa and an isoelectric point of 4.7. Protein database similarity searching using mass spectrometry-derived sequence data indicate that the enzyme shares homology with a previously sequenced A. niger β-galactosidase. Unlike currently commercialised products, the enzyme displayed a high level of stability when exposed to simulated gastric conditions in vitro, retaining 68 ± 2% of original activity levels. This acid-stable, acid-active β-galactosidase was formulated, along with a neutral β-galactosidase from Kluyveromyces marxianus DSM5418, in a novel two-segment capsule system designed to ensure delivery of enzymes of appropriate physicochemical properties to both stomach and small intestine. When subjected to simulated full digestive tract conditions, the twin lactase-containing capsule hydrolyzed, per unit activity, some 3.5-fold more lactose than did the commercial supplemental enzyme. The acid-stable, acid-active enzyme, along with the novel two-segment delivery system, may prove beneficial in the more effective treatment of lactose intolerance.


Lactase β-galactosidase Aspergillus niger van Tiegh Lactose intolerance Two-segment capsule 



This study was funded in part by Enterprise Ireland under the Irish National Development Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre, IT TraleeTraleeIreland
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Environmental Sciences, and Materials and Surface Science InstituteUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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