Microbial production and biotechnological applications of α-galactosidase

Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 May 1:150:1294-1313. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.10.140. Epub 2019 Nov 17.


α-Galactosidase, (E.C. is an exoglycosidase that target galactooligosaccharides such as raffinose, melibiose, stachyose and branched polysaccharides like galactomannans and galacto-glucomannans by catalysing the hydrolysis of α-1,6 linked terminal galactose residues. The enzyme has been isolated and characterized from microbial, plant and animal sources. This ubiquitous enzyme possesses physiological significance and immense industrial potential. Optimization of the growth conditions and efficient purification strategies can lead to a significant increase in the enzyme production. To boost commercial productivity, cloning of novel α-galactosidase genes and their heterologous expression in suitable host has gained popularity. Enzyme immobilization leads to its greater reutilization, superior thermostability, pH tolerance and increased activity. The enzyme is well explored in food industry in the removal of raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFOs) in soymilk and sugar crystallization process. It also improves animal feed quality and biomass processing. Applications of the enzyme is in the area of biomedicine includes therapeutic advances in treatment of Fabry disease, blood group conversion and removal of α-gal type immunogenic epitopes in xenotransplantation. With considerable biotechnological applications, this enzyme has been vastly commercialized and holds greater future prospects.

Keywords: Blood group conversion; Fabry disease; Microbial α-galactosidase; RFOs hydrolysis; Soymilk processing; Transgalactosylation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Enzymes, Immobilized / chemistry*
  • Enzymes, Immobilized / genetics
  • Enzymes, Immobilized / metabolism
  • Fabry Disease / drug therapy
  • Fabry Disease / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • alpha-Galactosidase / biosynthesis
  • alpha-Galactosidase / chemistry*
  • alpha-Galactosidase / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / therapeutic use


  • Enzymes, Immobilized
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • alpha-Galactosidase