Oligosaccharide is frequently found in specific health food for use as a material that promotes improvement of the intestinal environment. It is marketed under the catch phrase "Oligosaccharide controls the intestinal condition". Oligosaccharide is composed of a number of monosaccharides, such as dextrose and fructose. Typical examples are fructose-oligosaccharide, soybean-oligosaccharide, galactose-oligosaccharide and xylose-oligosaccharide.
Initially, Mr. Tomotari Mitsuoka, one of the leading researchers of coliform bacteria, confirmed that fructose-oligosaccharide, developed as a non-decay-promoting sweetener, is superior in raising proliferous activity of Lactobacillus bifidus. Thus, oligosaccharide received considerable attention as a functional material that was useful for the improvement of Lactobacillus bifidus populations.
It was found that soybean-oligosaccharide, emulsified-oligosaccharide and other types of oligosaccharide passed through the stomach and the small intestine largely undigested, to reach the large intestine, where they would become nutrients for Lactobacillus bifidus. With this ability Oligosaccharide became valued as a functional material to enhance our immunity when O-157 spread throughout Japan.
Oligosaccharide is receiving a lot of attention as a useful material for relieving constipation, preventing corpulence, controlling the aging process and preventing arteriosclerosis, not only in Japan but around the world. It is also expected to be used in a wide range of food as a functional material for treating life-style-related diseases.
Typical oligosaccharide compounds are listed below Fructose-oligosaccharide (raw material: sucrose) Soybean-oligosaccharide (soybean) Emulsified-oligosaccharide (sucrose and sugar) Raffinose (beet syrup) Galactose-oligosaccharide (lactose) Xylose-oligosaccharide (corn)