Inulin-a versatile polysaccharide with multiple pharmaceutical and food chemical uses

Thomas Barclay, Milena Ginic-Markovic, Peter Cooper, Nikolai Petrovsky
á-D-glucopyranosyl-[â-D-fructofuranosyl](n-1)-D-fructofuranoside, commonly referred to as inulin, is a natural plant-derived polysaccharide with a diverse range of food and pharmaceutical applications. It is used by the food industry as a soluble dietary fibre and fat or sugar replacement, and in the pharmaceutical industry as a stabiliser and excipient. It can also be used as a precursor in the synthesis of a wide range of compounds. New uses for inulin are constantly being discovered, with
more » ... discovered, with recent research into its use for slow-release drug delivery. Inulin, when in a particulate form, possesses anti-cancer and immune enhancing properties. Given its increasing importance to industry, this review explains how inulin's unique physico-chemical properties bestow it with many useful pharmaceutical applications.