Development and Characterization of an Enzyme Membrane Reactor for Fructo-Oligosaccharide Production

Membranes (Basel). 2019 Nov 10;9(11):148. doi: 10.3390/membranes9110148.


Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are linear fructans comprising 2-5 fructose units linked to a terminal glucose residue. They are widely used as food and feed additives due to their sweetness, low calorific value, and prebiotic properties. Here we describe the synthesis of FOS catalyzed by a cell-free crude enzyme solution containing recombinant fructosyltransferase (1-FFT) produced in the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis. During the enzyme catalysis, glucose accumulates as a by-product and eventually inhibits FOS production. We therefore used an enzyme membrane reactor (EMR) to achieve the continuous removal of glucose and the simultaneous replenishment of sucrose. We observed a loss of flux during the reaction with the characteristics of complete pore blocking, probably caused by a combination of proteins (enzyme molecules) and polysaccharides (FOS). Such complex fouling mechanisms must be overcome to achieve the efficient production of FOS using EMR systems.

Keywords: Kluyveromyces lactis; ceramic membrane; complete pore blocking; enzyme membrane reactor (EMR); flux modeling; fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS); prebiotic nutrition; resistance-in-series model.