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Oligocaccharide Series from Natural Resources

Oligosaccharides are sugar compounds in which monosaccharides are combined with each other through the glycosidic bond, and basically have a molecular weight of about 300 to 3000. Disaccharides such as sucrose and lactose are also members of this group, but in general, those from trisaccharides to approximately 20 mer are often called oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharides, which are well-known so far, have been widely discovered in the animals and plants, and they are the advanced research field where new oligosaccharides are still being discovered from various natural resources.


Cello-oligosaccharides are composed of β1-4 linked glucose, and they are found in pine needles and cornstalks. It is reported that these oligosaccharides have effects on indigestible feature, metabolism activation of colonic epithelial cells, and regulation of intestinal function.1)

Chemical structure of cello-oligosaccharides

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Isomalto-oligosaccharides are composed of α1-6 linked glucose, and they are included in rice wine (= sake), mirin (= sweet sake), fermented soybean paste (= miso), soy sauce, and honey as naturally derived ingredients. Since these olicosaccharides are selectively uptaken by bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, their supportive characteristics for growth of valuable intestinal bacteria are widely known.2)

Chemical structure of

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N-Acetyl Chito-oligosaccharides

N-Acetyl chito-oligosaccharides are composed of β1-4 linked N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and they are present as chitin in crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs. It is reported that these oligosaccharides have effects on indigestible feature, growth promotion of bifidobacteria, and immunostimulatory effects.3)

Chemical structure of N-acetyl chito-oligosaccharides

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Chito-oligosaccharides are composed of β1-4 linked D-glucosamine, and they are obtained by deacetylation of chitin. And their indigestible feature, growth promotion of bifidobacteria, and immunostimulatory effects are observed.4)

Chemical structure of chito-oligosaccharides

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Hyaluronan-oligosaccharides consist of repetitive disaccharide units (of D-glucuronic acid β1-3 linked by N-acetyl-D-glucosamine) via β1-4 linkages. Typically, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid is present in normal tissues while low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is observed in inflammatory region and cancer tissues. Oligosaccharides derived from hyaluronic acid characteristically induce angiogenesis and cartilage degradation, and their physiological activities are not found in hyaluronic acid polymers.5)

Chemical structure of hyaluronan-oligosaccharides

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Colominic acid-oligosaccharides

Colominic acid-oligosaccharides consist of α2-8 linked sialic acid known as an acidic sugar, and they are observed in neuronal cells and sodium channels in the early stages of development event. In addition, these oligosaccharides contribute to the various physiological function such as a regulation factor for construction of neural networks.6)

Chemical structure of colominic acid-oligosaccharides

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