Background: Consumers’ awareness of how diet is affecting the health and their demand
for healthy foods has encouraged the food industry to produce healthy food products. Thus, functional
ingredients including probiotics and prebiotics have been introduced to industry in order to develop
these types of food products.
Objective: The aim of this article was to review β-glucan structure, its applications as a prebiotic and
its healthful benefits as well as its effects on physiochemical, rheological and sensory characteristics
of dairy products.
Methods: This was a literature research using the keywords “β-glucan”, “dairy products”, “dietary fiber”,
physiochemical properties”, “prebiotic”, “sensory properties” in Web of Science, Scopus and
Results: It was described that β-glucan, as a soluble dietary fiber has many desirable biological activities
and health benefits. Moreover, it has specific physical properties including gelling capacity, stabilizer,
emulsifying and thickening agent that make it suitable for using in foods, medicines and cosmetics
industries. In dairy products it can be used as a prebiotic, texturizer and fat replacer.
Conclusion: β-glucan can be used in dairy products in order to enhance the viability of probiotics as
well as improving texture and sensory properties of these products. However, an appropriate level of
this compound should be incorporated into the products based on the type of β-glucan and dairy product.