Oligosaccharides are attracting increasing interest as prebiotic functional food ingredients. They can be extracted or obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis from a variety of biomass sources or synthesized from simple oligosaccharides by enzymatic transfer reactions. The major prebiotic oligosaccharides on the market are inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides, and galacto-oligosaccharides. They have been evaluated using a range of in vitro and in vivo methods, although there is a need for more large-scale human trials using modern microbiological methods. Prebiotics are being studied for their effects on gut health and well being and specific clinical conditions, including colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), acute infections, and mineral absorption. Developing understanding of the functional ecology of the human gut is influencing current thinking on what a prebiotic might achieve and is providing new targets for prebiotic intervention.
Annual Review of Food Science and Technology – Annual Reviews
Published: Apr 10, 2010
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