New Developments and Prospective Applications for β (1,3) Glucans
Publications and patents relative to newly observed functions of β-(1,3)-D-glucans have notably increased in the last few years with the exploitation of their biological activities. The term β-(1,3)-D-glucans includes a very large number of polysaccharides from bacterial, fungal and vegetable sources. Their structures have a common backbone of β-(1,3) linked glucopyranosyl residues but the polysaccharidic chain can be β-(1,6) branched with glucose or integrate some β- (1,4) linked glucopyranosyl residues in the main chain. Except for the curdlan, a bacterial linear β-(1,3)-D-glucans, and for the scleroglucan produced by Sclerotium rolfsii, the main drawback limiting the development of these polysaccharides is the lack of efficient processes for their extraction and purification and their cost. However new applications in agronomy, foods, cosmetic and therapeutic could in a next future accentuate the effort of research for their development. So this review focuses on these β-(1,3)-D-glucans with the objective to detail the strategies employed for their extraction and the relation structure-functions identified when they induce biological activities.
Keywords: Polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, curdlan, glucan, biopolymer
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