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Inexpensive Process for Separation and Mass Production of Cellodextrins

Cellodextrins (-1,4-glucose oligomers) are of interest for investigating cellulase hydrolysis mechanisms and kinetics. In addition, cellodextrins have been used to investigate aspects of microbial cellulose utilization including regulation of cellulase synthesis, cell growth, and bioenergetics. Non-digested oligosaccharides including cellodextrins have been found to have health-improvement functions such as lowing cholesterol levels and prevention of diabetes and obesity. Currently, cellodextrins (G3-G5) purchased in small quantities for biochemical and microbial studies at an approximate cost of $8-15 per mg, while the amount of cellodextrins for health care applications is in the range of grams per day. High price of cellodextrin and low productivity restrained their applications.

Dartmouth scientists developed a procedure for preparation of purified cellodextrins in gram quantities per day. Cellodextrins were prepared by hydrolyzing microcrystalline cellulose (Avicel) or other sources of cellulose by mixed commercial concentrated acids. Yields following hydrolysis and precipitation were ~0.05, ~0.07, ~ 0.06 and ~0.02 g/g cellulose for cellotriose (G3), cellotetraose (G4), cellopentaose (G5), and cellohexaose (G6) respectively. The lab size chromatographic separation was used to obtain cellodextrin preparations at 240 mg/day for G3, 330 mg/day for G4, 260 mg/day for G5, and 130 mg/day for G6, with purity > 99% for G3, G4, and G5, and > 95% for G6. Some longer cellodextrins with DP from 7-11 can also be obtained.

The overall procedure achieves yields comparable to the highest reported previously, employs a separation system that can readily be reused for multiple runs, and avoids use of high toxic chemicals such as fuming HCl.

Dartmouth procedure can also be used for separation of other high-value oligosacharides such as xylo-oligosaccharides and malto-oligo-saccharides with slightly modified equipment.

The described process is claimed in the published United States Patent Application No. 10/835,125. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in commercialization of this technology.
(Ref: J231)

Last Updated: 7/24/12