Scientific journal

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
Online First Articles

Pop, C. R. – Salanţă, L. – Rotar, A. M. – Semeniuc, C. A. – Socaciu, C.  – Sindic, M.
Influence of extraction conditions on characteristics of microbial polysaccharide kefiran isolated from kefir grains biomass

Carmen R. Pop, Department of Food Engineering, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Mănăştur Street 3-5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Received 22 September 2015; 1st revised 25 January 2016; accepted 18 February 2016; published online 26 March 2016.

Summary: Kefiran is a water-soluble polysaccharide, which can be isolated from kefir grains biomass. Rheological behaviour and physico-chemical characteristics of kefiran solutions were influenced by the extraction parameters. Degradation of the polymer chain occurred at the highest temperature tested (100 °C). The intrinsic viscosity of kefiran solutions (0.1 g·ml-1) varied between 8.24 mPa at 100 °C to 19.32 mPa at 80 °C. Regarding rheological properties, kefiran solutions had characteristics of a Newtonian behaviour in diluted solutions and pseudoplastic at higher concentrations. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of monosaccharides revealed that kefiran is composed of glucose and galactose in a relative molar ratio of 0.94–1.1. Infrared spectra of kefiran suggested the structure of alpha- and beta-configurations in pyranose-form carbohydrates, which indicated a purified structure of kefiran. The molecular weight of kefiran polymer was between 2.4 × 106 Da and 1.5 × 107 Da, the values of molecular weight depending on extraction conditions. This polysaccharide was found to have higher intrinsic viscosity and higher apparent viscosity in aqueous solutions, which brings a perspective for its use as thickening or gelling agent in food, or as a matrix in film-forming solutions.

Keywords: kefir grains; lactic acid bacteria; kefiran; rheological properties

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