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Novel Exopolysaccharide Exhibits Antioxidant and Biofilm-Inhibiting Properties

Exopolysaccharides are produced by a variety of animal (including humans) & plant-pathogenic bacteria, Gram-positive as well as Gram-negative, archaea, and by cyanobacteria. They produce biofilms, and play a role in bacteria–host interactions. EPSs are highly heterogeneous polymers containing a number of distinct monosaccharides and noncarbohydrate substituents.

Bacteria can produce secretions that form a capsule around the bacterial cell wall.  It does in order to guard the bacteria from harsh environmental conditions such as famine. The capsules do not permit loss of moisture to retain the water inside the bacteria and absorb nearby external nutrients. One such example is exopolysaccharide, produced by lactic acid bacteria.

Exopolysaccharides or EPSs are long-chain carbohydrate polymers linked by repeating monosaccharide units. These can be categorized into homopolysaccharides (such as glucan, fructan and galactans) and heteropolysaccharides. A Large variety of mesophilic and thermophilic lactic acid bacteria make EPSs.

The lactic acid bacteria produces Exopolysaccharides, which have recently gained attention due to its potential in substituting natural gums. Bacterial EPSs have better rheological properties while requiring less amount of land for their production.


Uses of Exopolysaccharide

Several studies have been carried out to determine the use of EPSs as biological agent for thickening, gelatinization, stabilization, and emulsification in the food and beverage industry. EPSs have health benefits such as anti-tumour, immune-stimulating, anti-oxidant,and biofilm inhibition activities.

EPSs help in cellular defence by antioxidant activity which minimizes the damage caused by reactive oxygen species and free radical. Biofilm inhibition is another research criterion for EPSs. Biofilm formed by pathogenic species, such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, and Yersinia. It interferes by the biofilm inhibition activity of Exopolysaccharide. Thus, helps in prevention of chronic diseases caused by the respective micro-organisms.

Lactobacillus species that produce EPS and show anti-biofilm activity are Lactobacillus helveticus, L. plantarum, L. fermentum, and L. acidophilus. These EPS show anti-microbial effect and can be extremely beneficial in the future of food and pharmaceutical industries.


These EPS-producing species find in common fermented food product such as Chinese Sauerkraut which contain a complex microbial community, can be isolated and produce Exopolysaccharides. While exopolysaccharides can be very beneficial, there is still a lot to explore.


Exopolysaccharide: Research Report

A group of researchers at Feed research institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing studied Lactobacillus coryniformis for the antioxidant and biofilm-inhibiting properties. L. coryniformis shows antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial properties. It is a probiotic bacterial strain that boosts intestinal function.

L. coryniformis is isolated and the EPS thus produced is extracted by ethanol precipitation. The Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy [FT-IR] and high-performance liquid chromatography [HPLC] analysis analysed the composition of EPS and evaluated for its properties.

The study concluded that the “The EPS extracted from L. coryniformis NA-3, extracted from Chinese sauerkraut, is a Hetero-exopolysaccharide with antioxidant and anti-biofilm properties. The results of this study exhibited that EPS produced by L. coryniformis can scavenge free radicals such as superoxide radicals, inhibit biofilm formation, and disperse the biofilms of pathogenic strains including B. cereus and S. typhimurium.”

L. coryniformis produced EPS shows potential applications as an antioxidant and anti-biofilm agent in food and pharmaceutical industries. Further researches can help in determining these applications and their optimal and efficient use.

The food industry is constantly evolving and the food is getting better, healthier, and its production is becoming sustainable.

Reference: Xu, Xiaoqing, Qing Peng, Yuwei Zhang, Dandan Tian, Pengbo Zhang, Ying Huang, Lan Ma, Yu Qiao, and Bo Shi. 2020. “A Novel Exopolysaccharide Produced by Lactobacillus coryniformis NA-3 Exhibits Antioxidant and Biofilm-Inhibiting Properties in vitro”. Food & Nutrition Research 64 (April).

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