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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2005 Feb 10;40(2):107-13.

Preservation mechanisms of trehalose in food and biosystems.

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Cargill Inc. Research Center, Box 5699, Minneapolis, MN 55446, USA.


The stability or shelf-life of food and biomaterials has always been a critical issue in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Trehalose (alpha-D-glucopyranosyl-alpha-D-glucopyranoside), a non-reducing diglucose sugar found in nature, confers to certain plant and animal cells the ability to survive dehydration for decades and to restore activity soon after rehydration. The interaction between trehalose and cell membranes or proteins, however, remains a debated subject, and a significant amount of work has been done to elucidate the mechanisms resulting in this unique behavior of preservation. This study shows how an interfacial phenomena approach has led to the use of trehalose as an excipient during freeze drying of a variety of products in the pharmaceutical industry. It also suggests opportunities as an ingredient for dried and processed food, as well as a non-toxic cryoprotectant of vaccines and organs for surgical transplants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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