Carbohydrate materials that produce lower postprandial blood glucose increase are required for diabetic patients. To develop slowly digestible carbohydrates, the effect of degree of polymerization (DP) of α-1,6 glucan on its digestibility was investigated in vitro and in vivo. We prepared four fractions of α-1,6 glucan composed primarily of DP 3–9, DP 10–30, DP 31–150, and DP 151+ by fractionating a dextran hydrolysate. An in vitro experiment using digestive enzymes showed that the glucose productions of DP 3–9, DP 10–30, DP 31–150, and DP 151+ were 70.3, 53.4, 28.2, and 19.2 % in 2 h, and 92.1, 83.9, 39.6, and 33.3 % in 24 h relative to dextrin, respectively. An in vivo glycemic response showed that the incremental area under the curve (iAUC) of blood glucose levels of α-1,6 glucan with DP 3–9, DP 10–30, DP 31–150, and DP 151+ were 99.5, 84.3, 65.4, and 40.1 % relative to dextrin, respectively. These results indicated that α-1,6 glucan with higher DP had stronger resistance to digestion and produced a smaller blood glucose response. DP 10–30 showed significantly lower maximum blood glucose levels than dextrin; however, no significant difference was observed in iAUC, indicating that DP 10–30 was slowly digestible. In addition, α-1,6 glucan was also produced using an enzymatic reaction with dextrin dextranase (DDase). This produced similar results to DP 10–30. The DDase product can be synthesized from dextrin at low cost. This glucan is expected to be useful as a slowly digestible carbohydrate source.
Erianthus arundinaceus (ER) is greatly appreciated among domestic energy crops in Japan for the production of fermentable sugars from lignocellulosic polysaccharides. In this study, we developed an efficient Ca(OH)2-based pretreatment of both stems and leaves of ER at ambient temperature with the addition of a washing step for enzymatic saccharification. The recoveries of glucans and xylans in the pretreated ER after four countercurrent washing cycles were 91 and 76 %, respectively, the former being considerably higher than that of rice straw (RS) (72 %). Their saccharification ratios in the washed sample under the pressure of 1 atm CO2 were 80 and 92.5 %, respectively. The application of this simple sugar production process from ER would further support the domestic bioprocess development. ER is also foreseen to provide the additional feedstock favorable for harvesting from winter to spring in Japan, preventing a risk for feedstock shortage generated by single harvesting such as RS.