A review presenting production, characterization, and applications of biopolymer curdlan in food and pharmaceutical sectors

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Curdlan is an exopolysaccharide, specifically a homopolysaccharide, with a high molecular weight that is made up entirely of monomeric glucose molecules connected by β-1,3-glycosidic bonds. Curdlan was first isolated in 1962 by Harada and his colleagues from Alcaligenes faecalis var myxogenes 10C3. Microbial synthesis of this curdlan is mainly associated with soil bacteria. Preliminary screening of curdlan-producing microorganisms is done on aniline blue media. The aniline blue positive microorganisms are subjected to submerged fermentation for the production of curdlan. To improve the yield of curdlan produced, various optimization techniques are employed such as Plackett–Burman, response surface methodology, and others. Curdlan can be characterized by its morphology, gel strength, its infrared, and magnetic resonances among many other characteristics. Due to its distinctive physicochemical and rheological properties, it has gained immense popularity in the food, biomedical, and pharmaceutical sectors. However, curdlan’s functionality can be improved by chemically modifying curdlan to obtain grafted curdlan, hydrogels, and nanocomposites which are discussed in detail herewith. Curdlan was authorized to be used in the food industry by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1996 and also in 1989 in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. Over the years, many patents using curdlan have also been filed from different parts of the world. This review provides information about its structure, biosynthesis, production strategies, optimization, characterization, applications, and patents. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6905-6927
Number of pages23
JournalPolymer Bulletin
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 09-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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