Structural characterization of the exopolysaccharides from water kefir

Lea Fels, Frank Jakob, Rudi F. Vogel, Daniel Wefers

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75 Scopus citations


Water kefir is a beverage which is produced by initiating fermentation of a fruit extract/sucrose solution with insoluble kefir grains. Exopolysaccharides that are formed from sucrose play a major role in the kefir grain formation, but the exopolysaccharides in the kefir beverage and the detailed structural composition of the whole kefir grains have not been studied yet. Therefore, kefir grains and the corresponding kefir beverage were analyzed for exopolysaccharides by multiple chromatographic approaches and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy. Furthermore, different fractionation techniques were applied to obtain further information about the exopolysaccharides. The exopolysaccharide-fraction of the investigated kefir beverage was predominantly composed of O3- and O2-branched dextrans as well as lower amounts of levans. The insoluble dextrans from the kefir grains were mostly O3-branched and contained an elevated portion of 1,3-linked glucose units compared to the soluble dextrans. The structurally different exopolysaccharides in water kefir suggest the involvement of multiple bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Dextran
  • Exopolysaccharides
  • Levan
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Structure
  • Water kefir


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