Pullulan: biosynthesis, production, and applications

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Oct;92(1):29-44. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3477-y. Epub 2011 Jul 29.


Pullulan is a linear glucosic polysaccharide produced by the polymorphic fungus Aureobasidium pullulans, which has long been applied for various applications from food additives to environmental remediation agents. This review article presents an overview of pullulan's chemistry, biosynthesis, applications, state-of-the-art advances in the enhancement of pullulan production through the investigations of enzyme regulations, molecular properties, cultivation parameters, and bioreactor design. The enzyme regulations are intended to illustrate the influences of metabolic pathway on pullulan production and its structural composition. Molecular properties, such as molecular weight distribution and pure pullulan content, of pullulan are crucial for pullulan applications and vary with different fermentation parameters. Studies on the effects of environmental parameters and new bioreactor design for enhancing pullulan production are getting attention. Finally, the potential applications of pullulan through chemical modification as a novel biologically active derivative are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota / genetics
  • Ascomycota / metabolism*
  • Bioreactors
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods
  • Food Additives / chemistry
  • Food Additives / metabolism*
  • Food Preservation / methods
  • Glucans / chemistry
  • Glucans / genetics
  • Glucans / metabolism*


  • Food Additives
  • Glucans
  • pullulan