• galactooligosaccharides;
  • GOS;
  • lactose;
  • prebiotics;
  • galactose


Galactooligosaccharides are sugars composed of 3-10 molecules of galactose and glucose via a transgalactosylation reaction mediated by the enzyme β-galactosidase. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that pass through the upper digestive system relatively intact and ferment in the lower colon, producing short-chain fatty acids that support the growth of supplemented or indigenous colonic microbiota. Galactooligosaccharides and other prebiotic ingredients are increasingly being recognized as useful dietary tools for the modulation of the colonic microflora toward a healthy balance. Galactooligosaccharides compare well to other oligosaccharides in terms of their prebiotic, immunomodulation, and functional properties in foods. This review elucidates the galactooligosaccharide production process from refined lactose and/or cheese whey permeates, galactooligosaccharide market share and economic value, their health properties, and potential food applications. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry