Comparative structural characterization of 7 commercial galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) products

Carbohydr Res. 2016 Apr 29;425:48-58. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2016.03.006. Epub 2016 Mar 16.


Many β-galactosidase enzymes convert lactose into a mixture of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) when incubated under the right conditions. Recently, the composition of commercial Vivinal GOS produced by Bacillus circulans β-galactosidase was studied in much detail in another study by van Leeuwen et al. As a spin-off of this study, we used the developed analytical strategy for the evaluation of 6 anonymous commercial GOS products, in comparison with Vivinal GOS. These GOS products were first subjected to HPLC-SEC, calibrated HPAEC-PAD profiling (glucose units in relation to a malto-oligosaccharide ladder), and 1D (1)H NMR spectroscopy. For a more detailed analysis and support of the conclusions based on the initial analysis, the GOS products were separated into DP-pure subpools on Bio-Gel P-2 (MALDI-TOF-MS analysis), which were subjected to calibrated HPAEC-PAD profiling and (1)H NMR analysis. Unidentified peaks from different GOS products, not present in Vivinal GOS, were isolated for detailed structural characterization. In this way, the differences between the various GOS products in terms of DP distribution and type of glycosidic linkages were established. A total of 13 new GOS structures were characterized, adding structural-reporter-group signals and HPAEC-PAD based glucose unit G.U. values to the analytical toolbox. The newly characterized products enhance the quality of the database with GOS structures up to DP4. The combined data provide a firm basis for the rapid profiling of the GOS products of microbial β-galactosidase enzymes.

Keywords: Galacto-oligosaccharides; High-pH anion-exchange chromatography profiling; NMR spectroscopy; Prebiotics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus / enzymology
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Galactose / biosynthesis
  • Galactose / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Oligosaccharides
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Galactose