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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Aug 25;52(17):5533-8.

Structural characterization and biological activities of an exopolysaccharide kefiran produced by Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens WT-2B(T).

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Research and Development Division, Daiwa Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., 1650-88 Okuhara-cho, Ushiku, Ibaraki 300-0551, Japan.


Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, isolated from kefir grains, produces an extracellular polysaccharide when cultured, not only in PYG10 medium but also in a liquid medium containing a rice hydrolysate that had been previously degraded by treatment with a glucoamylase. The maximum yield of the polysaccharide, using the rice hydrolysate as the medium, was 2.5 g/L after a 7-day culture period at pH 5.0 and 33 degrees C. Compositional analysis, methylation analysis, specific rotation, and (1)H and (13)C NMR spectroscopy revealed that the structures of polysaccharides obtained from these two different culture media are essentially identical. The polysaccharide is composed of a hexasaccharide repeating unit and, thus, is known as kefiran. The weight-average molecular weight and the z-average radius of gyration of a sample, purified from the rice hydrolysate medium, were determined to be 7.6 x 10(5) g/mol and 39.9 nm, respectively, by gel permeation chromatography equipped with a multiangle laser-light-scattering photometer. Changes in blood pressure and serum components were examined in SHRSP/Hos rats, using doses of 100 and 300 mg of kefiran/kg of rat. A suppression in the increase in blood pressure was observed in these rats after 30 days. This activity is discussed in terms of the concentration of serum components of the rat, with emphasis on lipid components such as cholesterols, triglycerides, and free fatty acids.

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