Enzymatic preparation and potential applications of agar oligosaccharides: a review

Jie Long*, Ziying Ye*, Xingfei Li, Yaoqi Tian, Yuxiang Bai, Long Chen, Chao Qiu, Zhengjun Xie, Zhengyu Jin, Birte Svensson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


Oligosaccharides derived from agar, that is, agarooligosaccharides and neoagarooligosaccharides, have demonstrated various kinds of bioactivities which have been utilized in a variety of fields. Enzymatic hydrolysis is a feasible approach that principally allows for obtaining specific agar oligosaccharides in a sustainable way at an industrial scale. This review summarizes recent technologies employed to improve the properties of agarase. Additionally, the relationship between the degree of polymerization, bioactivities, and potential applications of agar-derived oligosaccharides for pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, and agricultural industries are discussed. Engineered agarase exhibited general improvement of enzymatic performance, which is mostly achieved by truncation. Rational and semi-rational design assisted by computational methods present the latest strategy for agarase improvement with greatest potential to satisfy future industrial needs. Agarase immobilized on magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles via covalent bond formation showed characteristics well suited for industry. Additionally, albeit with the relationship between the degree of polymerization and versatile bioactivities like anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial agents, prebiotics and in skin care of agar-derived oligosaccharides are discussed here, further researches are still needed to unravel the complicated relationship between bioactivity and structure of the different oligosaccharides.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Number of pages17
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Agar
  • Ogliosaccharides
  • Engineered agarose
  • Applications


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