Beta-glucan is a natural dietary fiber that is found in natural plants and microorganisms such as grains, fungi, bacteria and algae. Soluble beta-glucan has been shown to have many health benefits, such as the ability to slow down the rate at which food passes through the gut, thereby keeping you fuller for longer; Slows the absorption of sugar in the blood and helps stabilize blood sugar levels; Reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract and maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels, thereby promoting heart health; In addition, it also has the effect of strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation in the human body. In recent years, the multiple health benefits of β-glucan are widely known, the current market for supplements β-glucan is mainly extracted from oats, sorghum, mushroom, seaweed, yeast, etc., different sources have a direct impact on its molecular weight, structure and even function, then, what are the applications of β-glucan from different sources in the food industry?

Grain beta-glucan

Barley and oats are the grains with the highest β-glucan content, and trace amounts of β-glucan are also found in wheat, rye and rice kernel. Grain β-glucans have a combination of β-1, 3-glucoside and β-1, 4-glucoside bonds. Because of its special structure, grain beta-glucan is able to make it sticky in the gut, which can have multiple positive effects on health, including reducing the post-meal blood sugar response and improving blood cholesterol levels. According to the insights of Markets and Markets, grain-based β-glucans are superior in terms of technical quality, health value and cost-effectiveness, and will occupy the largest share of this market in the next five years.

Lantmannen introduced PromOat beta-glucan, a highly soluble oat bran fiber derived from Swedish whole wheat oats, containing very little insoluble fiber and no chemicals, with 34% beta-glucan in the conventional version and 29% in the gluten-free version. As a functional ingredient, it has good solubility, high water binding and emulsification, can play a role in thickening and stabilizing, and give soup, dairy products, condiments, beverage products a creamy taste.

The company also launched PromOat beta-glucan powder dietary supplement for consumers, made from 100% Swedish oats and free of any additives, which can be mixed with any amount of liquid in smoothies or porridge, or sprinkled over foods such as yogurt, with one tablespoon (about 9g) a day equivalent to consuming 3g of beta-glucan.

Yeast beta-glucan

Yeast β-glucan is a functional polysaccharide from the cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with β-1, 3-D-glucan as the main chain and β-1, 6-D-glucan as the branch chain. Yeast beta-glucan has the functions of enhancing immune activity, regulating blood lipids and blood sugar, repairing cells and improving intestinal health. In 2011, the European Union approved yeast beta-glucan as a new food ingredient.

German manufacturer Leiber has been researching innovative applications of brewer’s yeast since 1954. The company has developed Yestimun®, a natural beta-glucan extracted from the cell wall of brewer’s yeast, made from natural ingredients such as premium brewer’s yeast, barley, hops and water, suitable for vegetarians. Yestimun® is a light beige fine spray-dried powder that has no taste or odor of its own and can be used in a wide range of solid or liquid product formulations.

Algae beta-glucan

In recent years, with the increased awareness of the health properties of algae and the increase in raw material production, the algae beta-glucan market has also ushered in opportunities. Algae-derived β-glucans can be divided into two categories: one is extracted from seaweed, the main chain is β-1, 3-D-glucan, and the side chain is β-1, 6-D-glucan; The other is extracted from microalgae, mainly eyeworm algae, consisting of linear β-1, 3-D-glucan, which is also the more common algal β-glucan currently on the market. Eyeworm algae are single-celled microalgae that live in most freshwater habitats and are able to naturally produce beta-glucan, known as “Gymnococcal starch” which is stored in cells as floating particles that are easily available without adding solvents.

BioGlena™, from Algatech, is a 100% natural beta-glucan raw material derived from eye worm microalgae containing at least 55% linear beta-1, 3-glucan, complete protein and essential vitamins and minerals for use in capsules, tablets, gummies, powders and functional foods. Easily digested in the stomach, BioGlena™ releases beta-glucan from the algal matrix, which is taken up by immune cells in the gut and transported to key sites in the body, helping to naturally boost the immune system function.

Mushroom beta-glucan

Functional mushrooms serve as “superfoods” rich in a variety of bioactive substances, including beta-glucans, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and more. Among them, β- Glucan can be obtained from Hericium erinaceus, Shiitake mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, chaga mushroom, Cordyceps sinensis, Coriolus versicolor and other medicinal mushrooms, and its structure is mainly connected by β-1, 3-glucoside bond, and contains some branch chains of β-1, 6-glucoside bond, which has strong antioxidant activity. The mushroom beta-glucan works synergistically with other nutrients to help regulate immune system function, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and protect cardiovascular system health.

Established in 1992, Super Beta Glucan is dedicated to researching the derivatives of medicinal mushrooms β- Glucan. The company has organically cultivated a variety of medicinal mushrooms such asAntrodia camphorata, Cordyceps sinensis, Yunzhi, honey mushroom, etc and developed proprietary manufacturing process of β- Glucan, which can retain more than 120 times β- Glucan compared with the traditional ethanol or hot water extraction methods, eliminating unnecessary by-products produced during the natural growth of mushrooms, and has the advantages of high purification and stable properties. It can be used in food and beverage, dietary supplements, animal nutrition and other products.

The company’s products include medicinal mushroom extract capsules Mycelium PRO and full spectrum mushrooms β- Glucan Betamin. Among them, the former uses ultrasonic technology to extract functional components from 10 medicinal mushrooms, providing antioxidant and free radical protection effects, helping to replenish energy; The latter is a liquid containing 350g of β- Glucan, free of artificial additives, flavors and preservatives, helps supplement energy, anti-oxidation and anti-aging.

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Ye Tao