Beta-glucan in food applications
A preparation of beta-glucan, obtained from spent brewer’s yeast, was evaluated for potential food applications. This material was autolysed and the cell walls that were obtained were homogenized, extracted firstly with alkali, then with acid, and then spray dried.
Fragmentation of the cell walls during homogenization is regarded responsible for higher viscosity by Saowanee Thammakiti and colleagues. The beta-glucan obtained in this way had higher properties as compared with commercial beta-glucan from baker’s yeast.
The authors suggest that beta-glucan obtained from brewer’s yeast can be used in food products as a thickening, water-holding, or oil-binding agent and emulsifying stabilizer.
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Beta-glucan as fat replacer in mayonnaise
Application of beta-glucan prepared from spent brewer’s yeast as a fat replacer in mayonnaise was studied by Worrasinchai, and colleagues Fat was partially substituted by beta-glucan at levels of 25, 50, and 75% achieving higher storage stability than full fat mayonnaise with acceptable sensory with beta-glucan not more than 50%. The authors conclude that spent brewer’s yeast beta-glucan may be used as a fat replacer in mayonnaise.
Carotinoids as coulorants in beta-glucan mayonnaise
Rujirat Santipanichwong and Manop Suphantharika studied the application of carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein, as natural colourants in reduced fat mayonnaise with 50% substitution of oil using spent brewer’s yeast beta-glucan as a fat replacer.
Lutein was found to destabilize the emulsion resulting in significant variation of the oil droplet size during storage and a spontaneous reduction of the viscoelastic properties.
Beta-carotene, however, did not change the stability of the emulsion. The authors concluded that the addition of these colourants in the concentration range tested seemed to have no effect on the textural properties of reduced-fat mayonnaise.
Beta-glucans and their effect on the immune system
Leiber, a German producer of yeast products, submitted a request of health claim saying that its beta-glucan of yeast “helps to maintain the body’s defence against pathogens in the upper respiratory tract”. It is already the second trial presenting new informations to the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The first request asking for the claimed effect of “reducing the risk for common cold infections by decreasing the susceptibility for common cold infections during the cold season by strengthening the body’s natural defences and improving the body’s immune defence against common cold viral infections during the cold season” was found by the Panel that a cause and effect relationship was not established between the consumption of the yeast product named Yestimun and the immune responses.
The product described in the request consists of (1,3)-(1,6)-β -Dglucans from brewer’s yeast cell wall (100 % Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Beta-glucans are polysaccharides consisting of a backbone of D-glucose subunits linked by (1,3)-β -glucosidic bonds with irregular β -(1,6)-linked glucosidic side chains of various length.
Health claims regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 
Nutrition and health claims made on food are regulated by the regulation No 1924/2006. Health claims are prohibited unless they are authorised in accordance with this Regulation and included in the lists of authorised claims provided for in Articles 13 and 14 thereof. In particular, Article 13(5) of the Regulation lays down provisions for addition of claims, which are based on newly developed scientific evidence.
In fact there are studies which have found beta-glucans to reduce risk of several diseases.
Beta-glucans are considered biological response modifiers with immunomodulatory effects 
Beta-glucans are defined as glucose polymers linked together by a linear β 1-3 -glycosidic chain core. They are considered biological response modifiers with immunomodulatory effects. Anticancer properties were demonstrated in vitro. As adjuvant therapy in clinical trials, beta-glucans were associated with positive effect on patients survival and quality of life by stimulating the immune system.
Beta-glucans of mushroms stimulates the immune system and has anticarcinogenic properties 
The healing and properties of mushrooms have been known for thousands of years in the Eastern countries. Certain mushrooms and yeasts contain immunostimulating polysaccharides of the group of beta-glucans similar to beta glucans of cell wall of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi. These substances increase host immune defense. The induction of cellular responses by mushroom and other beta-glucans is likely to involve their specific interaction with several cell surface receptors, as complement receptor 3 (CR3; CD11b/CD18), lactosylceramide, selected scavenger receptors, and dectin-1 (betaGR). beta-Glucans also show anticarcinogenic activity which is addressed in the paper of Akramiene et al. 2007.
The immune response can be modulated by nutrients like beta-glucans of yeast, fungi, and bacteria, but also of cereals like oat and barley. Volman, Ramakers and Plat 2008 write that studies show that beta-glucans of fungi and yeast have immune enhancing properties, such as leukocyte activity protecting from infections. The authors suggest that dietary beta-glucans may increase resistance against infections.