Fuji Seito Co., Ltd. has been discovered an enzyme that produces polysaccharide "inulin" directly from sucrose.
Mar. 5, 2001
For the first time in the world, Fuji Seito Co., Ltd. (of Shimizu-shi, Shizuoka prefecture, presided over by KOGUMASAKA Mitsukuni now), of which the Nissho Iwai group is a 40 percent shareholder, has discovered an enzyme that produces polysaccharide "inulin" directly from sucrose, and has applied for patents on it.
Inulin is one of the naturally occurring polysaccharides that are present widely in plants like burdock, chicory, and Jerusalem artichoke, with a structure characterized by long chains of fructose molecules of fructooligosaccharide. Use of the enzyme discovered by Fuji Seito would make it possible to produce low-cost inulin of high purity in large quantities.
Inulin has long been used in Europe as nutrient supplements for the diabetic. Of late, obtained from chicory roots, this polysaccharide has been getting attention as a fat-free substitute for fat that meets the consumer's need to reduce their fat consumption.
Inulin's widespread practical applications include dairy products (yogurt, milk drinks, cheese, cream), fat-spread (butter, margarine), western cakes (chocolate, cakes, cookies, crackers), Japanese cakes, chilled cakes, and bread. It is also getting attention for its features as dietary fiber and physiologically useful activities like bifidobacterial activity, minerals absorption enhancer, and anti-carcinogenic effect, promising potential significant demand from extensive application areas such as foods, medicines, and cosmetics.
Fuji Seito is in pursuit of commercialization of its discovery, desirous of launching a new business of high-performance products using sucrose as the raw material to add this promising new business to the existing lines of food additives, "maitake" mushroom and additives to extend the life of cut flowers. The whole Nissho Iwai Corporation group will back up Fuji Seito's effort.