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Nutraceutical Application

The trend of nutraceutical market is a movement based on ‘personalised nutrition’, with particular attention to personalised microbiome (mapping the human gut microbiome). Scientific literature describes the effects of using dextran as new prebiotic ingredient. A special issue is reserved to possible synergic effect with probiotics (microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed), actually present into the market. Prebiotics were first defined as “non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, thus improving host health” [Gibson G.R., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Introducing the concept of prebiotics. J. Nutr. 1995;125: 1401–1412]. This definition was later refined to include other areas that may benefit from selective targeting of particular microorganisms [Gibson G.R., Probert H.M., van Loo J., Rastall R.A., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Updating the concept of prebiotics. Nutr. Res. Rev. 2004;17: 259–275]: “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora, that confer benefits.”


  • resists gastric acidity, hydrolysis by mammalian enzymes, and absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract;
  • is fermented by the intestinal microflora (which types/Genera of microbes and/or which types of metabolites are produced using dextran as sole carbon source);
  • selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria potentially associated with health and well-being.

Functional foods (Rao et al., 2014 – Das et al., 2014); promising prebiotic potential with very low gut digestibility and selective stimulation of probiotics. In recent years, there is a considerable interest in the use of prebiotics as functional foods in order to modulate the composition of the colonic microbiota to provide health benefits to the host (Saadet al. 2013). Foods containing prebiotic have also been associated with the protection against risk of several diseases, viz., bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, coronary heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, cholesterolemia, and type 2 diabetes. The a-(1 à 6) linkages are known to be resistant to hydrolysis by human intestinal enzymes, which results in the slow digestion of dextran in human. Moreover, a-(1 ->2) linkages are also highly resistant to the attack of digestive enzymes (Remaud-Simeon et al. 2000). Dextran and dextran-derived oligosaccharides have also been reported to increase the fraction of Bifidobacterium species in an in vitro model of the fermentation process in the human colon exhibiting prebiotic activity (Olano-Martin et al. 2000).

Improve emulsifying, roaming, gelling and solubility attributes protein by Maillard reaction. Dextran Conjugates Proteins are widely used in the food products such as beverages, yogurt, mayonnaise, and ice creams due to their functional properties, viz., emulsifying, foaming, gelling, and solubility (Oliveret al. 2006; Zhang et al. 2012). The functional properties of proteins can be improved by the conjugation of proteins and polysaccharides through Maillard reaction (Spotti et al. 2014). The Maillard reaction or non-enzymatic browning refers to any chemical reaction involving the interac-tion between amines and carbonyl compounds. Maillard reaction adds to the aroma, taste, and colorof coffee and cocoa beans, bread, cakes, cereals, and meat (Martins et al. 2001). Dextran-conjugated proteins have displayed significant improvement in physical and chemical properties of proteins, such as thermal stability, emulsification, and antioxidant properties (Zhu et al. 2010). The improvement of functional properties of different proteins, such as ovalbumin, lysozyme (Chen et al. 2014),peanut protein (Liu et al. 2012), soy protein (Zhuo et al. 2013), and whey protein (Spotti et al. 2014),after conjugation with dextrans has been studied.