Technological and Functional Applications of Low-Calorie Sweeteners from Lactic Acid Bacteria



ABSTRACT:  Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been extensively used for centuries as starter cultures to carry out food fermentations and are looked upon as burgeoning “cell factories” for production of host of functional biomolecules and food ingredients. Low-calorie sugars have been a recent addition and have attracted a great deal of interest of researchers, manufacturers, and consumers for varied reasons. These sweeteners also getting popularized as low-carb sugars have been granted generally recommended as safe (GRAS) status by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (USFDA) and include both sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols) which in addition to their technological attributes (sugar replacer, bulking agent, texturiser, humectant, cryoprotectant) have been observed to exert a number of health benefits (low calories, low glycemic index, anticariogenic, osmotic diuretics, obesity control, prebiotic). Some of these sweeteners successfully produced by lactic acid bacteria include mannitol, sorbitol, tagatose, and trehalose and there is a potential to further enhance their production with the help of metabolic engineering. These safe sweeteners can be exploited as vital food ingredients for development of low-calorie foods with added functional values especially for children, diabetic patients, and weight watchers.