Prebiotic galactooligosaccharides production from lactose and lactulose by Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL450†
Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are useful dietary ingredients recognized worldwide as prebiotics. In the present study, we evaluated the β-galactosidase (β-gal) activity of a panel of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in order to select strains for the synthesis of oligosaccharides from lactose (GOS) and lactulose (OsLu) with a potential prebiotic effect. Fifteen strains out of 20 were able to grow on lactose and showed β-gal activities between 0.03 and 2.06 U mg−1, whereas eleven were able to synthesize GOS. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL450, the strain with the highest β-gal activity, synthesized a maximum of 41.3% GOS and 21.0% OsLu from lactose and lactulose, respectively, with β-(1 → 6) and secondary β-(1 → 3) linkages. When these compounds were tested without purifying, as carbon sources for the development of recognized probiotics and the producer strain, high growth was observed compared to non-prebiotic sugars like glucose and lactose. When the purified oligosaccharides were tested, the bacterial growth decreased, but the microorganisms displayed metabolic activity evidenced by the consumption of carbohydrates and the production of lactic acid. Additionally, the purified oligosaccharides demonstrated a bifidogenic effect. The obtained results support the potential of L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus CRL450 for the production of the prebiotics GOS and OsLu and encourage the optimization of their synthesis for the design of new functional food ingredients.