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Pure Appl. Chem., 2002, Vol. 74, No. 7, pp. 1245-1251

Present status and future of functional oligosaccharide development in Japan

Teruo Nakakuki

Research Institute, Nihon Shokuhin Kako Co., Ltd., 30 Tajima, Fuji, Shizuoka, 417-8530, Japan

Abstract: Several oligosaccharides such as glycosylsucrose, fructo-oligosaccharides, malto-oligosaccharides, isomalto-oligosaccharides (branched-oligosaccharides), galacto-oligosaccharides, xylo-oligosaccharides, isomaltulose (palatinose), and lactosucrose have been produced on an industrial scale. Recent developments in industrial enzymology have made possible a series of new starch oligosaccharides such as β-1,6 linked gentio-oligosaccharides, α,α-1,1 linked trehalose, α-1,3 linked nigero-oligosaccharides, and branched-cyclodextrins. Some new sweeteners, including trehalose and nigero-oligosaccharides, are being developed as food ingredients with physiologically unique functions such as superoxide dismutase-like activity and immunological activity. Also, soybean oligosaccharides containing raffinose, stachyose, and other oligosaccharides mentioned above are now used in beverages, confectionery, bakery products, yogurts, daily products, and infant milk. In 1991, the Japanese government legislated for Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU). FOSHU increased the total to 223 items of which more than 50 % incorporate oligosaccharides as the functional components. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare published the proposal for a new system named Foods with Health Claims (FHC), which was carried out in April 2002.