A.K. PATEL et al.: Polysaccharides from Probiotics as Food Additives, Food Technol. Biotechnol. 48 (4) 451–463 (2010)

Microbial polysaccharides with nutraceutical potential and bioactive properties have been investigated in detail during the last few decades. There is an increasing demand in food industries for live microbes or polysaccharides produced by them which assert health benefits other than dietetic constituents. Although there are a large number of exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing bacteria, the titers are low for commercialization. EPSs and other polysaccharides are used as food additives to enhance texture. EPSs play an important role in improving the appearance, stability and rheological properties of novel food products.

Exopolysaccharides (EPSs) of microbial origin are long chain, high-molecular-mass water-soluble polymers which may be ionic or non-ionic and have potential applications in food industries as texturizers, viscosifiers, emulsifiers and syneresis-lowering agents due to their pseudoplastic rheological behaviour and water-binding capacity.

Research on the improved EPS biosynthesis is essential for obtaining high yields. Therefore, to reach commercialization, metabolic engineering must be applied. A better perception of the structure-function relationship of EPSs in a dairy food matrix remains a challenge in order to improve their applications to meet the consumers’ demand for delicious and also healthier products. The use of dextran in panettone and other types of bread is known; likewise, the addition of non-bacterial hydrocolloids is adopted traditionally in industrial baking process.

The investigation in order to obtain healthy nutraceuticals with valuable bioactive properties has drawn attention to probiotic exopolysaccharides. Functional foodstuffs which assert health-related benefits beyond their dietetic constituents are growing steadily in the food industry worldwide. The evidence of the encouraging health properties of probiotic exopolysaccharides is well accredited. Probiotic bacteria could serve as live bio-factories for the production of various polysaccharides for novel application in food processing industry. Carbon metabolism influences the sugar nucleotide alteration but nitrogen source was not found to be directly correlated with EPS production.