YZU chemical engineering team develops vegetarian glucosamine 元智化材研發健康具履歷的素葡萄糖胺

Professor Wu Ho-Shing (吳和生), Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and his team develop the glucosamine from the fungal Aspergillus wild strain. It is the first strain found in the world specifically for glucosamine production. It has reached the glucosamine standard for commercial production and obtained patents issued by Taiwan, China, and the United States. The technology will replace the current use of shrimp and crab shell as the traditional method of raw materials. The invention has transferred to the domestic biotechnology company, also won the “2012 Taipei International Invention and Technology Trade Show" invention competition silver medal.

Wu says that there are three kinds of methods for glucosamine production: chemical, enzyme decomposition, and microbial fermentation. The traditional chemical process is a strong acid (hydrochloric acid, nitric acid) degrades chitin and chitosan in shrimp and crab shells to glucosamine. High concentration of strong acid usually produces waste treatment and affects the environment. Although the use of the enzyme for producing chitosan reduces the volume of waste, the catalyst price is high and requires a longer reaction time to reach the same effect. It becomes an obstacle for commercialization.  Moreover, shrimp and crab shells have heavy metal pollution problems, also are not suitable for the people with allergies, vegetarians and dietary restrictions for the religious reason. The glucosamine from the fungal Aspergillus wild strain follows the microbial method which usually uses agricultural raw materials such as corns and molasses and appropriate for those people.

【本報訊】化材系吳和生教授(右一)

(化材系教授吳和生團隊(右一)/照片由化材系提供)

元智大學化學工程學學系教授吳和生團隊,以黴菌Aspergillus野生菌株發酵產葡萄糖胺,研發健康具履歷的素葡萄糖胺,此為全球第一個發現為生產葡萄糖胺設計之菌種,且成功取到商業化生產葡萄糖胺水平,目前同時獲得台灣、中國以及美國專利,未來量產將會取代現在使用的蝦蟹殼為原料之傳統方法。此發明已技轉給國內生技公司,也獲得「2012台北國際發明暨技術交易展」發明競賽銀牌獎。

葡萄糖胺已被大量用於骨關節炎的保健,能夠有效作用於軟骨組織之風濕性關節炎保護。葡萄糖胺在食品保健領域也廣泛被應用,在一些歐美國家,葡萄糖胺被視為天然無害的食品及保健品配方,並獲得廣大推廣。File_000(化材系教授吳和生/照片由化材系提供)

吳和生表示,葡萄糖胺的方法主要有3種,化學法、酵素分解法及微生物發酵法。傳統的化學法一般是以強酸(鹽酸、硝酸)對蝦蟹殼中的幾丁質與幾丁聚糖降解得葡萄糖胺,高濃度的強酸使用,容易引起廢液處理的問題。以酵素法來生成幾丁寡醣比較少廢液處理的問題,但酵素價格高,需要較長的反應時間才能獲得較高的產率,所以無法商業化。況且蝦蟹殼有重金屬污染問題,對過敏體質的人,及素食的朋友或需通過宗教認証的食物較不適合,利用微生物法通常都用農業原料如玉米,糖蜜等所以沒有此類問題。

葡萄糖胺全球一年超過18億美金產值(2015),素葡萄糖胺約佔7%且每年以約9%成長。吳和生表示,過去的素葡萄糖胺都是利用微生物法,來源為工業生產檸檬酸的廢菌渣料,因其原料較難控制,食安上較難把關。如生產製程專門為食品設計,其生產將完全符合食品法規要求,記錄各項作業得到具履歷的產品。

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