Prebiotic Oligosaccharides: Special Focus on Fructooligosaccharides, Its Biosynthesis and Bioactivity

Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2017 Oct;183(2):613-635. doi: 10.1007/s12010-017-2605-2. Epub 2017 Sep 25.


The bacterial groups in the gut ecosystem play key role in the maintenance of host's metabolic and structural functionality. The gut microbiota enhances digestion processing, helps in digestion of complex substances, synthesizes beneficial bioactive compounds, enhances bioavailability of minerals, impedes growth of pathogenic microbes, and prevents various diseases. It is, therefore, desirable to have an adequate intake of prebiotic biomolecules, which promote favorable modulation of intestinal microflora. Prebiotics are non-digestible and chemically stable structures that significantly enhance growth and functionality of gut microflora. The non-digestible carbohydrate, mainly oligosaccharides, covers a major part of total available prebiotics as dietary additives. The review describes the types of prebiotic low molecular weight carbohydrates, i.e., oligosaccharides, their structure, biosynthesis, functionality, and applications, with a special focus given to fructooligosaccharides (FOSs). The review provides an update on enzymes executing hydrolytic and fructosyltransferase activities producing prebiotic FOS biomolecules, and future perspectives.

Keywords: Fructooligosaccharide; Inulin; Kestose; Levan; Nystose; Oligosaccharides; Prebiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Oligosaccharides / biosynthesis*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Prebiotics*


  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Prebiotics