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Title:
AN ENZYME EXHIBITING FRUCTAN HYDROLASE ACTIVITY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/220864
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is related to an enzyme that allows efficient removal of fructan from grain and vegetable raw material. The enzyme according to the invention produces grain and vegetable material having a fructan content significantly lower compared to that of the starting material.

Inventors:
LOPONEN, Jussi (Joutsenrinne 6 A, VANTAA, 01450, FI)
MIKOLA, Markku (Proomukatu 5 B 36, LAHTI, 15140, FI)
SIBAKOV, Juhani (Kokkokalliontie 4 C 32, HELSINKI, 00370, FI)
Application Number:
FI2017/050469
Publication Date:
December 28, 2017
Filing Date:
June 22, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OY KARL FAZER AB (P.O. Box 4, HELSINKI, 00941, FI)
International Classes:
C12N9/24; A23L5/20; C12N15/56; C12N15/63; A21D8/04; A23L7/104
Domestic Patent References:
2010-09-02
2009-09-17
Other References:
PALUDAN-MULLER, C. ET AL.: "Purification and characterisation of an extracellular fructan beta-fructosidase from a Lactobacillus pentosus strain isolated from fermented fish", IN: SYSTEMATIC AND APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 25, 2002, pages 13 - 20, XP004957411
MULLER, M. ET AL.: "Purification and substrate specificity of an extracellular fructanhydrolase from Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei P 4134", IN: NEW PHYTOLOGIST, vol. 136, 1997, pages 89 - 96, XP000982638
GOH, YJ. ET AL.: "Functional analysis of the fructooligosaccharide utilization operon in Lactobacillus paracasei 1195", IN: APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 73, no. 18, 2007, pages 5716 - 5724, XP002582544
DATABASE GENBANK 27 January 2016 (2016-01-27), "Glycosyl hydrolase family 32 [Lactobacillus crispatus", XP055447468, Database accession no. WP_060461674.1
DATABASE GENBANK 27 May 2013 (2013-05-27), "Glycosyl hydrolase family 32 [Lactobacillus amylovorus", XP055447470, Database accession no. WP_013438434.1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEPPO LAINE OY (Itämerenkatu 3 A, Helsinki, 00180, FI)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A DNA construct comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding an extracellular fructo- sidase, wherein said nucleotide sequence comprises the nucleotide sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 or an analogous sequence thereof having at least 96% identity to the nucleotide sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1.

2. The DNA construct according to claim 1, wherein the nucleotide sequence encoding an extracellular fructosidase is obtainable from a strain of Lactobacillus.

3. The DNA construct according to claim 2, wherein the nucleotide sequence is obtainable from a strain of Lactobacillus, in particular a strain of Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus amylovorus, Lactobacillus ultunensis, Lactobacillus amyloly- ticus, Lactobacillus amylovorans, Lactobacillus sobrius or Lactobacillus acidophilus.

4. The DNA construct according to claim 3, wherein the nucleotide sequence is obtainable from Lactobacillus crispatus (DSM 29598).

5. A recombinant expression vector comprising a DNA construct according to any one of claims 1-4.

6. A cell comprising a recombinant expression vector according to claim 5.

7. A method of producing an enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity, the method comprising culturing a cell according to claim 6 under conditions permitting the production of the enzyme, and recovering the enzyme from the culture.

8. An enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity, which enzyme is encoded by a DNA construct according to any one of claims 1-4 or produced by the method according to claim 7.

9. An enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity, which enzyme comprises a polypeptide having an amino acid sequence essentially as shown in SEQ ID. No. 2.

10. An enzyme preparation for the degradation of fructan, said preparation comprising an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9, together with carriers and/or emulsifiers.

11. The enzyme preparation according to claim 10, which additionally comprises one or more of other enzymes having hydrolase activity.

12. The enzyme preparation according to claim 11 wherein the other enzyme(s) is/are liberating glucose or maltose. 13. The enzyme preparation according to claim 12 wherein glucose is liberated from starch / maltodextrin by a-glucosidase.

14. The enzyme preparation according to claim 12 wherein glucose is liberated from b- glucan by β-glucosidase.

15. The enzyme preparation according to claim 12 wherein glucose is liberated from sucrose by an invertase.

16. The enzyme preparation according to claim 12 wherein maltose is liberated from starch by amylolytic enzymes.

17. Use of an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9 or an enzyme preparation according to claim 10 or 11 for the degradation of fructan in grain materials or in vegetables. 18. Use of an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9 or an enzyme preparation according to any one of claims 10 to 16 for the preparation of baked products.

19. Use of an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9 or an enzyme preparation according to claims 10 or 11 for the preparation of low- fructan vegetables.

20. The use according to claim 17, wherein the grain material is selected from the group consisting of wheat, rye, barley, and mixtures thereof and the vegetables are selected from the group consisting of onion, garlic, and Jerusalem artichoke.

21. A premix for baking, comprising an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9 or an enzyme preparation according to any one of claims 10-16.

22. The premix according to claim 21, further comprising ingredients selected from the group consisting of whole, crushed and milled wheat, other cereals, pulses, nuts, seeds, carriers, fibers, and water binders such as, but not limited to, maltodextrins, celluloses, pectins, protein concentrates (gluten etc), bread/ dough improvers and/or their constituents.

23. An improver for baking, comprising an enzyme according to claim 8 or 9 or an enzyme preparation according to any one of claims 10-16, together with one more ingredients selected from the group consisting of enzymes, wheat gluten, carriers (wheat gluten malto- dextrin etc.), emulsifiers such as but not limited to DATEM, mono and diglycerides.

Description:
An enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to an enzyme that allows efficient removal of fructan from grain and vegetable raw material. The enzyme according to the invention produces grain and vegetable material having a fructan content significantly lower compared to that of the starting material. The low-fructan grain and vegetable materials can be used in producing low-fructan grain and vegetable ingredients, products suitable e.g. for low- FODMAP diet, and various cereal and vegetable food products with dietary benefits. The present invention is also directed to products containing low-fructan grain or vegetable ingredients and to products containing the enzyme, such as improvers and premixes for baking purposes. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Digestion-related problems are a frequent cause of general and social discomfort. These problems cover a diverse selection of gastrointestinal symptoms of which bloating, gas production, abdominal pain, overall discomfort, constipation, and loose stools are among the most frequent. Today many of the sufferers of such symptoms are believed to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is clearly more frequent in women and it is believed to concern 10-20 % of Western population; i.e. IBS is more frequent in Western population than lactose-intolerance (many people having lactose intolerance, though, might have IBS and vice versa).

Currently there is no good medical cure for IBS. Much attention has been paid on dietary management of IBS. Most attention has been paid on a diet called LOW-FODMAP diet. The idea of the diet is to avoid food items that contain FODMAP compounds. Term FODMAP is derived from "Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides, and Polyols". FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and monosaccharides, which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. FODMAP compounds include fructans (including FOS), galactans (especially GOS), and polyols. Also lactose and excess fructose can be considered as FODMAP compounds among people with impaired digestion or absorption of these compounds. Common sources of fructans include for example wheat, rye, onion, Jerusalem artichoke, and garlic. Some examples of fructan contents of grains are as follows: rye (bran) 7 % (on grain material basis), rye (grain) 3-7 %, and wheat flour 1-4 %. Although wheat is not generally considered as being especially rich in FODMAP compounds, its relatively high consumption makes it a relevant source of fructans. This is why the FODMAP diet guidelines instruct to avoid wheat. Rye consumption is high in Northern Europe. Rye bread contains more FODMAP compounds compared to wheat bread, because whole grain rye con- tains more fructans than wheat flour.

Fructans are built up of fructose residues, normally with a terminal sucrose unit (i.e. a glucose-fructose disaccharide). The linkage position of the fructose residues determines the type of the fructan. The basic types of single- linkage fructans are inulin and levan (or phlein). Additionally, there exists a mixed- linkage fructan called graminan.

Some prior art related to levels of fructan in bread is existing. In the article by Andersson et al. (2009) it was shown that the yeast fermented bread and especially the sourdough bread had lower contents of fructan as compared to whole grain rye flour. The results of Andersson et al. show that the fructan content of whole grain rye can be reduced from

5.0% to 1.9% by sourdough (62% reduction) and to 3.4% by yeast fermentation (32% reduction). The results also show that fructans are degraded during the bread-making process resulting in lower contents of total and extractable dietary fiber in the bread. Article by Rakha et al. (2010) discloses that during bread making, the low-molecular weight fraction of fructan is most available for degradation by yeast or by endogenous enzymes present in the ingredients. According to Rakha et al., the fructan content in rye milling fractions ranges from 3.4% in inner endosperm to 5.0% in bran. The fructan content of rye breads varied from 1.9% to 4.0%, with an average of 2.8% in crisp breads, with a sam- pie containing only whole grain rye flour being the highest in fructan content.

The dough according to US patent application US 2011/0129572 Al comprises at least one fructose-containing polysaccharide and at least one enzyme capable of degrading said polysaccharide into short-chained fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) and fructose. The baked product produced using this dough was said to have an increased softness compared to otherwise identical control bread or baked product produced using dough not containing the enzyme. The discovery related to lowering the fructan amounts in plant material of patent application EP 1084624 A2 is that while Lactobacillus strains in general do not degrade fructan, there are Lactobacillus strains that do have this property. According to EP 1084624 A2, those strains are preferably Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus plantarum. Miiller et al (1994) studied fermentation of fructans by epiphytic lactic acid bacteria.

Strains of epiphytic lactic acid bacteria were isolated from forage grasses and their ability to hydrolyze fructans was studied. Only 16 out of 712 strains utilized fructans. Said strains were identified as Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, Lactobacillus brevis and Pediococcus pentosaceus.

As can be noted from above, some techniques to alter fructan levels are currently known and used. Additionally, it is known that sour bread has naturally lower levels of fructan. These fructan lowering techniques are generally based on using fermentation or specific fructan degrading enzymes.

Several fructan degrading enzymes are known in the art. Glycoside hydrolase family GH32 contains invertases and also enzymes that hydrolyze fructose containing polysaccharides such as inulinases, exo-inulinases, levanases and P-2,6-fructan 6-levanbiohydrolases, fructan P-(2,l)-fructosidase/l-exohydrolases or fructan P-(2,6)-fructosidase/6-exohydrolases, as well as enzymes displaying transglycosylating activities such as sucrose :sucrose 1- fructosyltransferases, fructan: fructan 1-fructosyltransferases, sucrose: fructan 6- fructosyltransferases, fructan: fructan 6G-fructosyltransferases and levan fructosyltransfer- ases. Extracellular enzymes such as inulinase that hydrolyze fructans are extracted for example from Aspergillus niger and are commercially available. These extracellular enzymes are naturally occurring enzymes that are isolated or extracted from their natural environments. However, these extracellular fructanase enzymes are expensive and difficult to obtain in sufficient amounts and high purity for large-scale applications. For example, Paludan-Muller et al (2002) studied purification and characterization of an extracellular fructan β-fructosidase from a Lactobacillus pentosus strain isolated from fermented fish. An extracellular fructanhydrolase from Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paraca- sei P 4134 was studied by Muller et al (1997), while Goh et al (2007) characterized a fruc- tan hydrolase from Lactobacillus paracasei 1195. Document WO 2010/097416 Al discloses a recombinant protein with fructanase activity comprising a fragment of a natural occurring protein derived from lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus.

Moreover, with the use of known fructan-degrading enzymes, such as endo-fructanase, inulinase, or levanase, there is a possibility that fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are formed as degradation products as by this means not all fructan is converted to fructose. Therefore, there is still a need for a specific fructan degrading enzyme (fructanase, fructan hydrolase) that is able to decompose fructans efficiently without formation of FOS. FOS are carbohydrates that the human body cannot fully digest and can thus function as prebiotics. There are some positive effects suggested for FOS. For example, they may produce substances that stop the growth of harmful, toxic gram-negative and positive bacteria in the intestines. However, according to the currently available scientific evidence FOS can execute some harmful effects. FOS can cause e.g. bloating, flatulence, abdominal and in- testinal discomfort, and eructation. Furthermore, people with lactose intolerance were shown to particularly suffer from these side effects. The reason for these symptoms may be that FOS are generally gastrointestinally more active than fructan polymer, since the intestinal microflora ferments them more rapidly. Moreover, fructose can also considered being a FODMAP-compound with people having impaired fructose absorption. This is a problem when no comparable amount of glucose is present in the food item or meal. This is because fructose absorption in human body occurs along with glucose-induced uptake system. The excess fructose concentration (vs glucose concentration) is, however, easy to tackle with food recipe or meal formulations. What is still needed in the art are grain and vegetable materials that are substantially free of fructans and FOS and thereby can be used to prepare products that are suitable for low- FODMAP diets. What is also still needed in the art is an efficient method and means for fructan removal from grain and vegetable material that would not result in unfavorable degradation products, especially FOS. Therefore, a method and means that would enable the efficient removal of fructan would be very beneficial for the development of food products suitable for low-FODMAP diet. Consumption of these food products would not cause gastrointestinal problems. Said food products could even have a positive effect on gastrointestinal health and in that way on general wellbeing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is defined by the features of the independent claims. Some specific embodiments are defined in the dependent claims.

The present invention is based on the finding that a novel enzyme isolated from a strain of Lactobacillus is capable to efficiently degrade and remove fructan of grain and vegetable materials. According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a DNA construct comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding an extracellular fructanase, wherein said nucleotide sequence comprises the nucleotide sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 or a sequence analogous thereto having at least 96% identity to the nucleotide sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided an enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity which enzyme comprises a polypeptide having an amino acid sequence essentially as shown in SEQ ID. No. 2. According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a recombinant expression vector comprising the above mentioned DNA construct, as well as a cell comprising said recombinant expression vector.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of pro- ducing an enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity, the method comprising culturing a cell as defined above under conditions permitting the production of the enzyme, and recovering the enzyme from the culture. According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided an enzyme exhibiting fructan hydrolase activity, which enzyme is encoded by a DNA construct as defined above or is produced by the above defined method. According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided an enzyme preparation for the degradation of fructan, said preparation comprising an enzyme according to the present invention.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided the use of an en- zyme or an enzyme preparation according to the invention for the degradation of fructan in grain materials or in vegetables.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided the use of an enzyme or an enzyme preparation according to the invention for preparation of baked prod- ucts or low- fructan vegetables.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a premix for baking, comprising an enzyme or an enzyme preparation according to the invention, together with one or more ingredients needed or suitable for baking.

A still further aspect of the invention is an improver for baking, comprising an enzyme or enzyme preparation according to the invention, together with one or more ingredients from the group consisting of enzymes, wheat gluten, carriers (wheat gluten maltodextrin etc.), emulsifiers, such as but not limited to DATEM, and mono and diglycerides.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Figure 1 shows the percentage of residual fructan when the ability of the enzyme to degrade two inulins of different length, FOS compounds and rye meal extract was studied as a function of time. In all reactions the enzyme: substrate ratio was about 2.

Figure 2 shows the amount of substrate degraded by the enzyme per enzyme activity unit.

Figure 3 illustrates the amount of fructose formed. Figure 4 shows the results of gel filtration chromatography for inulin (DPav=12) and its degradation products. Samples were taken after a reaction time of 30 min, 60 min and 120 min. In all samples, the background signal caused by the enzyme has been reducted.

Figure 5 shows the results of gel filtration chromatography for inulin (DPav=25) and its degradation products. Samples were taken after a reaction time of 30 min, 60 min and 120 min. In all samples, the background signal caused by the enzyme has been reducted. Figure 6 shows fructan concentrations in wheat doughs during two hours of rising. The figure also shows calculated fructan concentration at the beginning of rising, based on the measured fructan content of wheat flour.

Figure 7 illustrates the change in fructan concentrations of rye doughs during two hours of rising. The figure also shows theoretical fructan concentration at the beginning of rising, with and without taking the fructan of the starter culture into account.

Figure 8 illustrates fructose concentrations in wheat doughs at the beginning and at the end of rising.

Figure 9 illustrates fructose concentrations in rye doughs at the beginning and at the end of rising.

Figure 10 shows the outlook of baked bread with and without enzyme addition. Control bread on the left, enzyme bread on the right.

Figure 11 shows the percentage of residual fructan when the ability of the enzyme to degrade garlic and Jerusalem artichoke was studied as a function of time. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the present context, the term "analogous" used to define the DNA construct of the invention is understood to include any DNA sequence which encodes an enzyme with fruc- tanase activity and which is at least 96% homologous or has at least 96% identity to the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1. The analogous DNA sequence may, e.g. be isolated from another organism or may be one prepared on the basis of the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1, such as by introduction of nucleotide substitutions which do not give rise to another amino acid sequence of the enzyme. Other examples of possible modi- fications are insertion of one or more nucleotides into the sequence, addition of one or more nucleotides at either end of the sequence, or deletion of one or more nucleotides at either end or within the sequence.

The present invention provides a novel enzyme that is able to efficiently degrade fructans. The enzyme was isolated and identified from a strain of Lactobacillus having fructan degrading activity. More specifically, the novel extracellular fructanase producing strain was identified as Lactobacillus crispatus. A sample of this microorganism was deposited at the Deutsche Sammlung von Microorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSM) under accession number DSM 29598.

Lactobacillus strains having fructan degrading activity were isolated from a seed starter generated by back slopping. The seed starter was prepared from grain material having a low content of damaged starch as disclosed in co-pending application PCT/FI2016/050011. In brief, a seed starter was produced by utilizing back slopping. Back slopping means that small quantities of dough from the manufacture of a fermented product from a previous batch are used as the inoculum or starter for the subsequent batch production. In the preparation of the seed starter, grain material having a low content, preferably less than 1.0% (on grain basis), of damaged starch was used. Grain material was soaked in liquid, preferably water, and incubated at 20-50°C for 4 to 72 hours. Next day, a fresh batch of the grain material and liquid, preferably water, was mixed as above and inoculated with 1-10% of the previously incubated mixture. This back slopping is carried out several times, preferably at least 3-6 times, and can be continued as long as necessary. The outcome of the back slopping started from grain material having a low content of damaged starch was the formation of spontaneous microflora that contain microbes that are able to efficiently utilize fructans as a carbohydrate source and quantitatively to consume (and thereby remove) fructans from grain raw material. The adapted microflora had the ability to hydrolyze fructan and further use the possible degradation products and metabo- lites (fructose, FOS, mannitol) for growth. The flora may also have transport system for fructans or their hydrolysis products or metabolites.

From the seed starter prepared as above, bacterial colonies with different morphology (out- look) were isolated to pure cultures. The microbes of the colonies were analyzed for their efficiency in removing fructan from grain material by using them as pure culture inocu- lants in laboratory fermentations.

One isolate effective in fructan removal was sequenced and identified as Lactobacillus crispatus (DSM 29598). A novel enzyme of the invention, an extracellular fructosidase and a member of glycosyl hydrolase family 32, was isolated and identified from said strain. It is expected that a DNA sequence coding for a homologous enzyme, i.e. an analogous DNA sequence, may be derived similarly by screening a strain of another microorganism, preferably a Lactobacillus, isolated from a seed starter prepared as described above. Examples of such Lactobacillus strains include but are not limited to other strains of Lactobacillus crispatus, as well as strains of Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus amylovorus, Lactobacillus ultunensis, Lactobacillus amylolyticus, Lactobacillus amylovorans, Lactobacillus sobrius or Lactobacillus acidophilus.

The enzyme protein isolated from Lactobacillus crispatus was found to be 95% identical to corresponding proteins in another Lactobacillus crispatus, and 94%> and 93% identical to corresponding proteins in L. amylovorus. None of these Lactobacillus enzymes are biochemically characterized. A fructan hydrolase in L. paracasei was previously characterized (Goh et al 2007) but is not homologous to the fructan hydrolase of the L. crispatus described here. The protein has a predicted sec-dependent signal peptide (VKA-DT) and is an extracellular protein.

The novel enzyme of the invention operates over a wide temperature range and shows relatively high activity between 30-60 °C. Optimum temperature for fructan hydrolysis is around 50 °C (100% activity) whereas at 30 °C and 60 °C the activity is 80%. The enzyme shows 60% activity at 65 °C and 50% activity at 20 °C. The enzyme operates actively in pH range 4-6. It shows maximum activity at pH 5.0 and very high activity (>95%) at pH- values 4.5 and 5.5. At pH-values 4.0 and 6.0 the activity is 75-80% of the maximum. The above mentioned properties show that the enzyme of the present invention is stable and active over a wide temperature and pH range. Said properties make the enzyme of the present invention particularly suitable for use in the preparation of low-fructan grain and vegetable materials as well as low-fructan grain and vegetable ingredients and products that are suitable for example for a low-FODMAP diet.

The DNA construct of the invention is understood to include any DNA sequence which encodes an enzyme with fructanase activity and which has at least 96%, preferably at least 97%, even more preferably at least 98%, and still more preferably at least 99% identity to the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1. Thus, the invention is intended to include any changes in the fructanase coding region which either lead to the same amino acid sequence or to an amino acid sequence which, notwithstanding one or more deviations from the original amino acid sequence, corresponds to an enzyme having essentially fructanase activity. A further aspect of the present invention provides a recombinant expression vector comprising a DNA construct as defined above. A still further aspect is a host cell transformed with a recombinant expression vector as defined above. The host cell may be for example a bacterium, such as a strain of Escherichia coli, or a yeast, such as Pichia pastoris. The invention covers the enzyme irrespective of how it has been produced, for example by recombinant DNA technology, chemical synthesis, enzymatic degradation or a combination thereof. Further, the invention not only covers the enzyme as such, but also in the form of a fusion protein or as a protein physically or chemically bound to any substance and having fructanase activity.

Another aspect of the invention is a method of producing an enzyme exhibiting fructanase activity, comprising the expression in a suitable host of a DNA as defined herein which encodes a fructanase enzyme. As stated above, the expression may take place in various host cells, among which Pichia pastoris is preferred. The invention also includes a method as defined above wherein the fructanase enzyme produced is recovered from the culture medium.

An object of the invention is also an enzyme preparation or an improver comprising an enzyme according to the invention, together with carriers and/or emulsifiers. Carriers may include for example wheat gluten, maltodextrin etc. Suitable emulsifiers include emulsifi- ers known to a person skilled in the art, such as for example DATEM.

The enzyme preparation may be prepared in accordance with the methods known in the art and may be in the form of a liquid or a dry preparation. For instance, the enzyme preparation may be in the form of a granulate or a microgranulate. The enzyme to be included in the preparation may be stabilized in accordance with methods known in the art.

In addition to the enzyme according to the invention, the enzyme preparation may also comprise one or more enzymes having hydrolase activity. The enzymes having hydrolase activity may liberate for example glucose or maltose. Such enzymes include for example a-glucosidase (liberating glucose from starch/maltodextrin), β-glucosidase (liberating glucose from β-glucan), invertase (liberating glucose from sucrose), and amylo lytic enzymes (liberating maltose from starch). A benefit of having glucose and fructose present in the product formulation is that fructose absorption from small intestine is improved when glucose is present in equal or higher amounts compared with fructose. Another benefit is to gain balanced taste of sweetness; although fructose is sweeter than glucose or maltose or sucrose, its combination with glucose, for instance, creates sweetness that is perceived more complete in its profile of sweet taste. The liberation of sugars (glucose, fructose, maltose) from raw materials or ingredients during food processing, thus, increases "natural" sweetness and, thereby, reduces the need to include added sugar in the product formulations.

The novel enzyme and the novel enzyme preparation according to the invention can be used in the degradation of fructan of grain materials or vegetables. Suitable grain materials include, without limitation, wheat, rye, barley, and mixtures thereof. A mixture may comprise all three of the mentioned grain materials or a combination of any two of them. Suitable vegetable materials include all vegetables that contain fructan (e.g. inulin). Examples of such vegetables include onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root etc.

The dosage of the novel enzyme and the novel enzyme preparation needed to degrade fructan in a certain material depends on the activity of enzyme, the amount of fructan in the material and the conditions under which the enzyme or the preparation is used and may be determined on the basis of methods known in the art. For example, at an activity level of approximately 500 U/g, an enzyme/substrate ratio of in the range of 2: 1 to 3 : 1 , preferably about 2.5: 1, may be used. In baking, the amount of enzyme needed naturally depends on the amount of fructan in the flours used. In the case of wheat, 0.1% enzyme based on the weight of wheat flour may be sufficient. In the case of rye, the amount of the enzyme is preferably over 0.5%, based on the weight of rye flour.

The novel enzyme can thus be used in the preparation of baked products, wherein it has been found to effectively reduce the content of fructan. In laboratory, FOS compounds were almost totally degraded by the enzyme. In rye extract, over 70 or 80% of the fructan of rye extract was degraded by the novel enzyme.

When used in baking, the novel enzyme reduced the fructan conten of rye and wheat doughs to almost zero at the end of rising the dough. At the same time, the amount of fructose increased compared to a control dough without the enzyme.

The novel enzyme can also be used in the preparation low- fructan vegetables wherein it has been found to degrade approximately 60% or more of the original fructan content of vegetables. With the novel enzyme or the novel enzyme preparation it is thus possible to provide wheat, rye, barley and vegetable materials and products that are substantially free from fructan and thereby are suitable for a specific diet such as low-FODMAP diet.

A further object of the invention is a premix for baking comprising the novel enzyme ac- cording to the invention or the enzyme preparation according to the invention. Without limitation, premixes typically include whole, crushed or milled wheat, other cereals, pulses, nuts and seeds, but also carriers, fibers and water binders such as, but not limited to, maltodextrins, celluloses, pectins, protein concentrates (gluten etc). Premixes may or may not include bread/dough improvers and/or their constituents.

A still further aspect of the invention is an improver for baking, comprising an enzyme or enzyme preparation according to the invention, together with one or more ingredients from the group consisting of enzymes, wheat gluten, carriers (wheat gluten maltodextrin etc.), emulsifiers such as but not limited to DATEM, and mono and diglycerides. The enzyme may also be used to liberate fructose from fructan. It can be used together with other enzymes, for instance hydrolases that liberate glucose or maltose from sucrose, glucans as starch or beta-glucan or maltodextrin. Enzymes that can release glucose from described substrates include invertases, amylolytic enzymes, alpha-glucosidases and beta- glucosidases. Release of fructose and/or glucose enables to decrease the amount of added sugar needed to provide the desired sweetness to the product in question.

At least some embodiments of the present invention find industrial application in food in- dustry, in particular in baking products and in preparation of low FODMAP vegetables. In addition, specific liberation of fructose finds industrial application in food industry as well.

The enzyme of the invention can obviously also be applied outside food industry. For instance, the enzyme can be used in bio fuel production to liberate fructose from materials containing fructan or in feed production to pretreat animal foods to decrease the amount of fructan and thereby to improve the digestion and nutritional value of feed. For instance, horses may suffer from laminitis, which is proposed to be the cause of feed containing grains or grass high in non-absorbable carbohydrates e.g. fructan. This leads to excess gut fermentations which are believed to cause the condition. The enzyme can also be applied as a digestive-aid enzyme in nutraceutical products similarly as lactase enzyme is added to improve lactose digestion. The enzyme could also be used in dental care to decrease the amount of plaque. It is known that fructans play a role in the formation of dental plaque biofilm and that the use of fructanase could reduce the amount of plaque. While the following examples are illustrative of the principles of the present invention in one or more particular application, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications in form, usage and details of implementation can be made without the exercise of inventive faculty, and without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the claims set forth below.

The verbs "to comprise" and "to include" are used in this document as open limitations that neither exclude nor require the existence of also unrecited features. The features recited in depending claims are mutually freely combinable unless otherwise explicitly stated. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the use of "a" of "an", that is, a singular form, throughout this document does not exclude a plurality.

EXPERIMENTAL

Example 1. Production of a seed starter and isolation of pure cultures

A seed starter was produced from cut kernels of rye without a pre-existing seed starter. The cut kernels used in the example contain 0.2% of damaged starch.

100 g of cut kernels were soaked in 150 g of water and incubated at 45°C. After 24h 10 g of the above mixture was mixed with 100 g of cut kernels of rye and 150 g of water and incubated at 45°C for 24 h. This back slopping was repeated five more times. From the seed starter prepared as above, bacterial colonies with different morphology (outlook) were isolated to pure cultures. The microbes of the colonies were analyzed for their efficiency in removing fructan from grain material by using them as pure culture inocu- lants in laboratory fermentations. In each fermentation reaction, 20 g of cut grains of rye were mixed with 30 grams of tap water and 500 mg pure culture starter suspension con- taining 10 9 cells of microbe isolate. After 16 hours fermentation at 37°C, the fructan content of the mixtures were analyzed using a commercial kit (K-FRUC, Megazyme). The initial fructan content of the grain material was 5% (on a dry matter basis).

One isolate effective in fructan removal was identified as Lactobacillus crispatus.

Example 2. Identification of fructan hydrolase from L. crispatus (DSM 29598)

Genomic DNA isolation and sequencing: Genomic DNA was isolated using the Wizard ® Genomic DNA Purification Kit (Promega) following the manufacturer's guidelines. The quality and quantity of each sample was assessed using gel electrophoresis and a

NanoDrop Spectrophotometer. Samples were sent to Axeq Technologies (Seoul, South Korea) where they underwent further quality checks and genomic sequencing. Whole-genome sequencing, assembly and annotation: The samples were sequenced using Illumina HiSeq2000 with > 500 fold coverage and the quality of the paired-end reads was assessed using the FastQC tool provided in a Galaxy software bundle. Reads were assembled de novo using ABySS (Assembly By Short Sequence; into contigs using a k- mer value of 63. Repetitive sequences and short assemblies were removed by filtering out contigs <500 bp in size. The sequence result was 103 contigs.

The evolutionary history was inferred by using the Maximum Likelihood method based on the JTT matrix-based model. The tree is drawn to scale, with branch lengths measured in the number of substitutions per site. Evolutionary analyses were conducted in MEGA6.

As a result, an extracellular fructosidase, a member of glycosyl hydrolase family 32 was identified. The enzyme protein is >93% identical to corresponding proteins in L. amylo- vorus, 56% identical to the fructan hydrolase in Atobobium parvulum and >55% identical to fructan hydrolases in S. mutans. The protein has a predicted sec-dependent signal peptide (VKA-DT) and is thus likely an extracellular protein. The phylogenetic analysis showed that there are few homologues in Lactobacillus spp., none of these are biochemically characterized. The fructan hydrolase in L. paracasei that was previously characterized is not homologous to the fructan hydrolase of the presently studied L. crispatus.

Example 3. Production of enzyme

The enzyme was produced in Pichia pastoris, a methylotrophic yeast that is widely used in the extracellular expression of recombinant proteins, by following routine recombinant DNA procedures. Standard methods in the enzyme production were performed essentially as described in Maniatis 1989, Molecular Cloning, CSH, N.Y., USA.

Example 4. Enzyme reactions Fructan degradation

Fructan degradation ability of the enzyme was examined by two inulins of different length (inulin HP (DPav=25) and inulin GR (DPav=12)), by FOS compounds and by rye meal extract. For the enzyme reaction, an enzyme solution was prepared, having a concentration of 10 mg/ml, and a substrate solution, having a concentration of 4 mg/ml. For the manufac- ture of both solutions, 0.1 M sodium acetate buffer (pH 4.5) was used. 0.5 ml of each solution was transferred to the reaction mixture. When rye extract was used as a substrate, the concentrations were half the size. The enzyme reaction was carried out at 50 °C and the reaction time was 2 hours. Samples were taken after 60 min and after 120 min. A solution wherein the enzyme solution was replaced by 0.5 ml of 0.1 M sodium acetate buffer (pH 4.5) was used as a standard. Reactions were stopped by placing the samples for 5 min in a boiling water bath, and then they were allowed to stand for 5 min in a cold water bath. Prior to the determination of fructan concentrations, the samples were allowed to stand for about 10 min at room temperature. They were diluted with deionized water so that the maximum fructan concentration was 1 mg/ml. The amount of fructan degradation by the enzyme was obtained by subtracting the amount of fructan in the reaction mixture from the amount of fructan in the standard.

In the reactions an enzyme compound was used, which had declared activity of 516.6 U/g. The enzyme/substrate ratio in the reactions was about 2. Figure 1 shows the percentage of remaining residual fructan based on the initial concentration. The diagram shows that the FOS compounds are mostly degraded by the enzyme, while longer chain inulin is less degraded. After two hours, 68.5% of the longer inulin was remaining whereas there were only 3.0% of FOS compounds. The shorter inulin and rye extract were about equally bro- ken down in percentage terms (inulin 25.3% and rye extract 27.1% fructan left).

Since the enzyme/substrate ratios varied slightly for each substrate, the amount of substrate degraded by the enzyme was calculated also per enzyme activity unit (Fig. 2). The highest degradation was found with FOS compounds, while the shorter inulin had the lowest deg- radation. During two hours, FOS compounds had a degradation rate of 0.654 mg/U, whereas that of inulin was 0.25 mg/U. Fructan of rye extract had a better degradation rate relative to the amount of enzyme than the shorter inulin (rye 0.598 mg/U and inulin 0.541 mg/U). Both diagrams show that the enzyme decomposes substrates at a higher rate during the first hour and thereafter the degradation rate decreases. Fructose formation

In addition to fructan concentrations, also fructose concentrations in the reactions were measured after 60 min and 120 min reaction times. Figure 3 shows the increase in fructose concentrations as a function of time. The resulting fructose is shown per enzyme activity unit. The highest amounts of fructose were formed with rye extract and FOS compounds as substrates. From the shorter inulin 0.775 mg U fructose was formed in two hours. The lowest amount of fructose was formed when the longer inulin was the substrate (0.431 mg/U). When rye extract and FOS compounds were used as substrates, the formation of fructose was significantly lower after an hour. Fructose formation from inulin was almost at the same level during the two hours. The samples were also assayed for glucose and sucrose content, but those compounds were almost not formed in the reactions.

Degrees of hydrolysis were calculated on the basis of fructose formation of different substrates. FOS compounds hydrolyzed almost completely (96.6%), which was very close to the value obtained from fructan assays. Also, degrees of hydrolysis of the shorter inulin and rye extract were very close to the estimated degradation rate based on fructan measurements. Instead, longer inulin hydrolyzed considerably more calculated on the basis fructose concentrations, the degree of hydrolysis being 55.0%, based on fructose, and 31.5%, based on fructan.

Table 8. Calculated degrees of hydrolysis based on fructose formation for various substrates after a reaction time of two hours

Substrate Degree of hydrolysis (%)

FOS 96.6

Inulin (DPav= 10) 75.5

Inulin (DPav= 23) 55.0

Rye extract 81.3

Hydrolysis method

Gel filtration chromatography was used to clarify whether the enzyme first degrades its substrate into FOS compounds or whether it releases single fructose molecules from the ends of fructan chain. Measurements were made for inulin reactions and the degradation products were determined for samples taken at 30 min, 60 min and 120 min. In addition, blank samples containing only the substrate were determined. Figure 4 shows the spike formed by the shorter inulin and its degradation products. The low peak at about 50 minutes represents inulin and the other peaks represent degradation products. The highest peak on the graph shows the fructose, and FOS compounds are also formed in the reaction. Based on the molecular weights, FOS compounds have about 2 to 3 fructose units.

Figure 5 shows the peak formed by the longer inulin and its degradation products. The reaction forms the same end products as the reaction of the shorter inulin. However, at the site of FOS compounds there are more of those FOS compounds that are three units long than those that are two units long. Moreover, the graph clearly shows that there is plenty of inulin left even after two hours.

Example 5. Baking

The ability of the enzyme to degrade fructan in a baking process was studied by adding enzyme to wheat and rye doughs. Table 1 shows the basic recipe of wheat and rye doughs. The amount of enzyme in the wheat dough was 0.175%, based on the weight of wheat flour, and in rye dough 0.68%, based on the weight of rye flour. The flour in the starter culture is not taken into account in the calculation. In addition to enzyme doughs/breads, control doughs without added enzyme were prepared.

Table 1. Ingredients of wheat and rye doughs and their amounts based on the amounts of wheat and rye flour

Ingredient Wheat dough Rye dough

(%) (%)

Wheat flour 100 -

Rye flour - 100

Starter culture - 74

Water 67 61

Yeast 3 1.2

Salt 1.7 2.3

Sugar 1.8 -

Oil 1.2 -

The doughs were prepared by mixing all the ingredients. Wheat doughs were stirred for approximately 5 min and rye doughs until the ingredients were mixed. The en- zyme was added to water before the other ingredients. The doughs were allowed to rise for two hours at a temperature of 37 °C. Samples of the doughs were taken immediately after mixing and after rising of 30 min, 60 min and at the end of the rising. The doughs were baked for 20 min at a temperature of 210 °C. The last sample was taken from cooled breads. All the samples were frozen and assayed for fructan and fructose concentrations. Rye dough samples were assayed also for mannitol concentrations.

Fructan concentrations in doughs

Fructan concentrations in wheat doughs during two hours of rising are shown in Figure 6. Fructan concentration in the control dough was 0.43% at the beginning of rising and it decreased to 0.23%) during two hours. In the dough with added enzyme, the concentration was 0.37%) at the beginning of rising and 0.04%> at the end of rising. In both doughs, the fructan concentrations were lower than was expected based on the fructan concentration of wheat flour.

Figure 7 shows the change in fructan concentrations of rye doughs during two hours of rising. Figure 7 also shows theoretical fructan concentrations at the beginning of rising, with and without taking the fructan of the starter culture into account. Fructan concentra- tion in the control dough was 1.6% at the beginning of rising and 1.3% at the end of rising. In the dough with added enzyme, the concentrations were 1.0% at the beginning and 0.08% at the end. The diagram also shows how the fructan content of the enzyme dough is remarkably smaller than that of the control already at the beginning of rising. Fructose concentrations in doughs

Fructose concentrations in the doughs were determined at the beginning and at the end of rising. Figure 8 shows the changes in fructose concentrations of the wheat doughs after two hours. Surprisingly, the fructose content of the control dough (0.64%>) at the beginning of rising was higher than that of the enzyme dough (0.54%>). During two hours, however, the control dough concentration decreased considerably more than that of the enzyme dough, the concentrations being 0.17% in the control dough and 0.38% in the enzyme dough.

In rye doughs, the fructose concentrations remained also the same when concentrations at the beginning and at the end of rising were compared (Figure 9). The fructose concentra- tions of the control dough were 0.30% at the beginning and 0.32% at the end of rising. In the enzyme dough, fructose concentration was 1.29% at the beginning and 1.39% at the end of rising. Baked bread

Finally, the doughs were baked and fructan and fructose concentrations of the final baked breads were determined. Mannitol concentrations of rye bread were also determined. Mannitol assay was made by D-mannitol/L-arabitol Assay Kit method. 1-2 g samples were weighed and then they were dissolved in water by heating and stir- ring. The assay was made according to the instructions of the manufacturer. In the treatment of solid samples, the samples were not filtered after dissolving in water but centrifuged for 5 minutes (5000 rpm).

The results are summarized in Table 2. Overall, the levels increased slightly during cooking (water evaporation). Fructan content of wheat bread containing enzyme was 0.05%. Fructan content of rye bread containing enzyme was 0.15%. Mannitol concentrations of the rye breads were very similar to each other. In particular, rye bread with enzyme contained more fructose than the control. Table 2. Fructan, fructose and mannitol concentrations of baked breads

Bread Fructan Fructose Mannitol

(%) (%) (%)

Wheat, control 0.25 0.01 -

Wheat, enzyme 0.05 0.40 -

Rye, control 1.40 0.20 0.34

Rye, enzyme 0.15 1.31 0.36

Baked wheat and rye breads were also sensory evaluated. Evaluated properties included crust color, texture and softness of the bread, as well as shelf life. The breads were also weighed and measured for volume. There was hardly any difference in the enzyme breads compared to the control breads. The only difference detected was the crust colour of wheat breads. The crust of the enzyme bread was slightly darker than that of the control (Figure 11). Example 6. Vegetable treatment a) Garlic

Garlic contained around 20g fructan / lOOg (fresh weight). Four grams of garlic was crushed and mixed with 50 mL of tap water. The fructanase enzyme (1000U) was added and the suspension was incubated at 50 °C for 5 hours. Samples were analysed at time points of Oh, 4h, and 5h. The fructan content decreased during 4-5 hours of incubation leaving the residual fructan content 40% of the Oh sample (Fig 11). b) Jerusalem artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke contained around 12% fructan / lOOg (fresh weight). Eight grams of Jerusalem artichoke was sliced cut into small pieces and mixed with 30 mL of tap water. The fructanase enzyme (1250U) was added and the mixture was incubated at 50 °C for 5 hours. Samples were analysed at time points Oh, lh, 2h, 3h, 4h, and 5h. The fructan content decreased steadily leaving 32% of residual fructan after 5h of incubation (Fig 11).

Example 7. Baking (mixture of flours)

The enzyme was tested in a straight dough baking process for mix-bread containing a mix- ture of wheat, oats and rye flours. Ingredients (see Table 3) were mixed for 5 min in a dough mixer and the dough was allowed to rest for 20 min.

Table 3. Ingredients of mix-bread containing wheat, oats and rye flours (g)

Ingredient Blanco Enzyme

Water 2,000 2,000

Wheat flour 0,800 0,800

Oat flour 0,800 0,800

Rye flour 0,500 0,500

Salt 0,050 0,050

Oil 0,100 0,100

Dry yeast 0,020 0,020

Enzyme 0 0,004 The dough was moulded to flat breads that were proofed for 45 min at 40°C and oven- baked at 230°C for 15min and cooled down at room temperature. The fructan content was determined after cooling. The fructan contents were 0.34% for Bianco-bread and 0.17% for Enzyme-bread.

CITATION LIST

Patent literature

EP 1084624 A2

US 20110129572 Al

WO 2010/097416 Al

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