Raffinose


Raffinose is a trisaccharide composed of galactose, glucose, and fructose. It can be found in beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains. Raffinose can be hydrolyzed to D-galactose and sucrose by the enzyme α-galactosidase (α-GAL), an enzyme not found in the human digestive tract. α-GAL also hydrolyzes other α-galactosides such as stachyose, verbascose, and galactinol, if present. The enzyme does not cleave β-linked galactose, as in lactose.The raffinose family of oligosaccharides (RFOs) are α-galactosyl derivatives of sucrose, and the most common are the trisaccharide raffinose, the tetrasaccharide stachyose, and the pentasaccharide verbascose. RFOs are almost ubiquitous in the plant kingdom, being found in a large variety of seeds from many different families, and they rank second only to sucrose in abundance as soluble carbohydrates. Humans and other monogastric animals (pigs and poultry) do not possess the α-GAL enzyme to break down RFOs and these oligosaccharides pass undigested through the stomach and upper intestine. In the lower intestine, they are fermented by gas-producing bacteria that do possess the α-GAL enzyme and make carbon dioxide, methane or hydrogen—leading to the flatulence commonly associated with eating beans and other vegetables. Soy oligosaccahrides are a rich source of raffinose.



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