Recent Developments in Manufacturing Oligosaccharides with Prebiotic Functions

  • Zoltán Kovács
  • Eric Benjamins
  • Konrad Grau
  • Amad Ur Rehman
  • Mehrdad Ebrahimi
  • Peter CzermakEmail author
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 143)


The market for prebiotics is steadily growing. To satisfy this increasing worldwide demand, the introduction of effective bioprocessing methods and implementation strategies is required. In this chapter, we review recent developments in the manufacture of galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). These well-established oligosaccharides (OS) provide several health benefits and have excellent technological properties that make their use as food ingredients especially attractive. The biosyntheses of lactose-based GOS and sucrose-based FOS show similarities in terms of reaction mechanisms and product formation. Both GOS and FOS can be synthesized using whole cells or (partially) purified enzymes in immobilized or free forms. The biocatalysis results in a final product that consists of OS, unreacted disaccharides, and monosaccharides. This incomplete conversion poses a challenge to manufacturers because an enrichment of OS in this mixture adds value to the product. For removing digestible carbohydrates from OS, a variety of bioengineering techniques have been investigated, including downstream separation technologies, additional bioconversion steps applying enzymes, and selective fermentation strategies. This chapter summarizes the state-of-the-art manufacturing strategies and recent advances in bioprocessing technologies that can lead to new possibilities for manufacturing and purifying sucrose-based FOS and lactose-based GOS.

Graphical Abstract



We thank the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts for the financial support within the Hessen Initiative for Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE Program). The first author is grateful for the Marie Curie FP7 Integration Grant provided by the 7th European Union Framework Programme (PCIG11-GA-2012-322219).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltán Kovács
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eric Benjamins
    • 3
  • Konrad Grau
    • 1
  • Amad Ur Rehman
    • 1
  • Mehrdad Ebrahimi
    • 1
  • Peter Czermak
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Bioprocess Engineering and Pharmaceutical TechnologyUniversity of Applied Sciences MittelhessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Food EngineeringCorvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary
  3. 3.FrieslandCampinaAmersfoortThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Chemical EngineeringKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of Biology and ChemistryJustus Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany

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