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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2007 Dec;57(4):387-96.

[Inulin and derivates as key ingredients in functional foods].

[Article in Spanish]

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Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Procesos Biológicos y Bioquímicas, Caracas, Venezuela.


Inulin is a non-digestible carbohydrate that is contained in many vegetables, fruits and cereals. It is industrially produced from the chicory's root (Cichorium intybus) and it is widely used as ingredient in functional foods. Inulin and its derivate compounds (oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides) are usually called fructans, as they are basically based on linear fructose chains. This review presents a description of inulin and its most common derivate compounds: chemical structure, natural sources, physic-chemical properties, technological functionality, industrial manufacturing, analytical method for determination and health benefits: prebiotic, dietary fiber, low caloric value, hypoglycemic action, enhancement of calcium and magnesium bioavailability. Potential benefits: lipid parameters regulation, reduction of colon cancer risk and others, improvement of immune response, intestinal disorders protection. From technological point of view, these compounds exhibit a variety of properties: thickener, emulsifier, gel forming, sugar and fat substitute, humectant, freezing point depression. Inulin and derivates are been used in pharmaceutical, chemical and processing industry as technological additives and excipients. They are also been used for animal feeding. They are been considered as "bioactive" compounds to be proposed as future packaging material. Fructans are proposed to be classified as "functional fiber", according to recent concepts based on physiological effects on individuals. This review of inulin and its derivates was useful to show the broad boundaries of these compounds in the food industry and why they may be considered as key ingredients in the expanding functional food market.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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