Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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The demand for foods with demonstrable health benefits has recently increased due to the general awareness on nutrition.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are currently an interesting example of this kind of functional foods. They are polymers
of glucose and galactose (Galn-Glc) which are non-digestible and act as prebiotics by stimulating the proliferation of lactic
acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in the human intestine. In addition, they present low calorific content being excellent food and
drink sweeteners. The enzyme β-galactosidase (EC 220.127.116.11) can synthesize GOS from lactose (transgalactosylation reaction),
but also hydrolyze GOS and lactose (hydrolysis reaction). Even though both reactions take place simultaneously, the desired
transgalactosylation can be favoured at high lactose concentration, elevated temperature and low water content. Moreover, the
GOS composition of the reaction mixture can be influenced by a number of factors, including initial lactose concentration,
enzyme source, pH and temperature. In this work two commercial enzymes have been used to evaluate the β-galactosidase
activity: Lactozym Pure 6500 L, a beta-galactosidase from
, and Pectinex Ultra SP-L, a poligaracturonase
. Both enzymes were first characterized in order to evaluate their hydrolysis activity at different
pH (from 4.5 to 7.5) and temperature (from 40 to 60?C) following the well-known oNPG method. Then, the experimental
conditions for the GOS synthesis such as temperature, pH, lactose and enzyme concentrations have been studied, aiming to
optimize the production of tri- or higher oligosaccharides.
Isabel M Gonz?lez Delgado is presently undertaking her second year of her PhD in the area of Food Biotechnology in the group of Chemical and Engineering
Technology of the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid (Spain). She gained her degree in Biotechnology at the Pablo de Olavide University. Afterwards, she
undertook a Master related to Rare Diseases. During these years she has collaborated in several research projects in the area of molecular biology, genetic
engineering, biocomputing and molecular modelling.
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