Galacto Oligosaccharides (GOS)
What is Galacto Oligosaccharides (GOS)?
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are a type of prebiotic carbohydrate that are composed of chains of galactose molecules, with a glucose molecule at the end. GOS are not digested in the small intestine, and instead reach the large intestine intact, where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. GOS are similar in structure to human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which are found in breast milk and are believed to play a role in the development of the infant gut microbiome.
GOS are produced commercially through the enzymatic conversion of lactose, which is found in milk. The resulting GOS syrup can be further purified and dried to produce a powder that is used as an ingredient in various food and beverage products, as well as in dietary supplements. GOS have a slightly sweet taste and are often used as a low-calorie sweetener and source of fiber in food products. In addition to their prebiotic effects, GOS have been shown to have other potential health benefits, such as improving mineral absorption and reducing the risk of infections. GOS are also used in infant formula to mimic the prebiotic effects of HMOs.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are naturally found in human milk and some animal milk, but in relatively small amounts. GOS are also present in some legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans, as well as in some vegetables, such as onion, garlic, and leek. However, the amounts of GOS in these plant-based sources are also relatively low.
Commercially, GOS are produced through the enzymatic conversion of lactose, which is found in milk. This process involves the use of enzymes, such as β-galactosidase and transgalactosidase, to break down lactose into GOS and other simple sugars. The resulting GOS syrup can then be further processed and purified to produce a powder that is used as an ingredient in various food and beverage products, as well as in dietary supplements.
Commercial Production of Galacto Oligosaccharides (GOS)
Commercial production of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) involves the enzymatic conversion of lactose, which is found in milk. There are two main methods used for the production of GOS:
- Transgalactosylation method: This involves the use of an enzyme called β-galactosidase to break down lactose into glucose and galactose. The galactose molecules are then linked together to form GOS through transgalactosylation.
- Partial hydrolysis method: This involves the partial hydrolysis of lactose, which results in a mixture of glucose, galactose, lactose, and GOS. The GOS can then be separated and purified from the mixture.
Once the GOS syrup is produced, it can be further processed and purified to remove impurities and excess water, and then dried to produce a powder. The resulting GOS powder can then be used as an ingredient in various food and beverage products, such as infant formula, dairy products, and health supplements.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) have several functions in the body, including:
- Prebiotic effects: GOS are considered prebiotics, which means they selectively promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria help maintain a healthy gut microbiota and can have positive effects on digestive health.
- Improved mineral absorption: GOS can enhance the absorption of minerals, such as calcium, by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, which increase the acidity in the colon and improve mineral solubility.
- Immune system modulation: GOS can modulate the immune system by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria that stimulate the production of immune cells and enhance their activity.
- Reduced risk of infection: GOS can help reduce the risk of infection by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens.
Overall, GOS can have a positive impact on digestive health, immune function, and overall well-being.
Galacto Oligosaccharides (GOS) Application
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) have various applications in the food and beverage industry, including:
- Infant formula: GOS are often added to infant formula as they have been shown to have benefits for digestive health and can mimic the prebiotic effects of human breast milk.
- Functional foods: GOS can be added to a range of functional foods, including yoghurt, cereals, and energy bars, to increase their nutritional value and provide prebiotic effects.
- Nutritional supplements: GOS can be used as a dietary supplement to improve digestive health and boost immunity.
- Animal feed: GOS can also be added to animal feed to improve digestive health and enhance growth performance in livestock.
Overall, GOS has a range of applications in the food and beverage industry due to its prebiotic effects and potential health benefits.
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