[en] This critical review article present the current state of knowledge on isomaltooligosaccharides, some well known functional oligosaccharides in Asia, to evaluate their potential as emergent prebiotics in the American and European functional food market. It includes first a unique inventory of the different families of compounds which have been considered as IMO and their specific structure. A description of the different production methods including the involved enzymes and their specific activities, the substrates and the types of IMO produced. Considering the structural complexity of IMO products, specific characterization methods are described as well as purification methods which enable the riddance of digestible oligosaccharides. Finally an extensive review of their techno-functional and nutritional properties enables to place IMO inside the growing prebiotic market. This review is of a particular interest considering that IMO commercialization in America and Europe is a topical subject due to the recent submission, by Bioneutra INC. (Canada), of a novel food file to the UK Food Standards Agency as well as several patents for IMO production.
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