Production, effects, and applications of fructans with various molecular weights

Food Chem. 2024 Mar 30;437(Pt 1):137895. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.137895. Epub 2023 Nov 2.


Fructan, a widespread functional polysaccharide, has been used in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and material production fields because of its versatile physicochemical properties and biological activities. Inulin from plants and levan from microorganisms are two of the most extensively studied fructans. Fructans from different plants or microorganisms have inconsistent molecular weights, and the molecular weight of fructan affects its properties, functions, and applications. Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the production and application of fructans having various molecular weights, and biotechnological processes have been explored to produce tailor-made fructans from sucrose. This review encompasses the introduction of extraction, enzymatic transformation, and fermentation production processes for fructans with diverse molecular weights. Notably, it highlights the enzymes involved in fructan biosynthesis and underscores their physiological effects, with a special emphasis on their prebiotic properties. Moreover, the applications of fructans with varying molecular weights are also emphasized.

Keywords: Applications; Fructan; Molecular weight; Prebiotic effects; Production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fructans* / chemistry
  • Inulin*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Prebiotics
  • Sucrose


  • Fructans
  • Inulin
  • Prebiotics
  • Sucrose