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β-Galactosidase is an important enzyme used in food processing; however, it is challenging to produce on a large scale.
This family of enzymes play a key role in aiding the formation of galactose and glucose from lactose (via hydrolysis – a process used to produce lactose-free milk). They also act as a catalyst in the formation of galactooligosaccharides (of interest as prebiotics) through the process of transglycosylation1 .
In a recent study, scientists from Novozymes used X-ray crystallography at Diamond to determine the structure of BbgIII, a multidomain β-galactosidase from Bifidobacterium bifidum.
By combining this with predictive modelling, they were able to characterise the behaviour and interactions of small molecules in the binding site of target proteins.
This work aims to determine whether selective modifications could be applied to B-galactosidase to enable its use within diverse industrial applications.
1 A mechanism whereby a compound is formed from a simple sugar and another compound by replacement of a hydroxyl group in the sugar molecule.
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