Yeasts are a potential source for prebiotic β-glucans. This polysaccharide is characterized by d-glucose monomers linked by β-glycosidic bonds. There are significant structural differences in β-glucans depending on the source and method in which they are obtaining. This polymer is a healthier food and feed additive. Numerous beneficial effects have been attributed to this polymer, in particular immunomodulatory action. Different studies confirm safe use and applicability of β-glucans in medicine for the treatment of diseases (cancer, infections, respiratory diseases) and reduction in glucose and cholesterol levels. Many advances in the processes to obtain β-glucans have been presented, including extraction, purification, and chemical modification, aiming the biological properties and yield. One limitation of their use is the cost, so a strategic discussion of the use of yeast biomass was performed for the production of β-glucans. An extensive and systematic review was undertaken to contribute to the science and technology to obtain β-glucans and their use in different applications.
Part of the book: Probiotics and Prebiotics in Human Nutrition and Health