2023 13 B1

Purifying and Characterizing Exopolysaccharides from Bacteria for Industrial Use

By: Jacob Steiger

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Joseph Chen

Hydrocolloids are long-chain polymers commonly used in various commercial products to enhance consistency, improve gelling, and control microstructure, texture, flavor, and shelf life. For example, xanthan gum is used in food production as a thickening agent in salad dressings, a substitute for gluten in baked goods, and an alternative to fat in processed items. Due to the lack of research development in recent years and an increase in demand, companies are looking for hydrocolloids with different properties to meet their needs. In collaboration with ExoPolymer, a biotechnology company located in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are investigating the commercial potentials of bacterial exopolysaccharides (EPS) as hydrocolloids for use in different industries. We have constructed specific strains for overproduction of desired EPS and optimized the protocol for purification. We are currently characterizing the rheological properties of the purified EPS for comparison against existing products, for example by measuring how viscosity changes relative to temperature and salt concentrations. This type of analysis will help reveal if the purified EPS will meet potential market demands.