Conventional and non-conventional applications of β-galactosidases

Carlos Vera, Cecilia Guerrero, Carla Aburto, Andrés Cordova, Andrés Illanes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


β-Galactosidase is one of the most important industrial enzymes, that has been used for many decades in the dairy industry. The main application of β-galactosidase is related to the production of low-lactose and lactose-free milk and dairy products, which are now common consumer goods in supermarket shelves. This is a well-established market that is expected to keep on growing as these products become more accessible to mid-income people worldwide. However, a fresh air has come into the β-galactosidase business as non-conventional applications arose in recent decades based on its transgalactosylation activity. This capacity is certainly a major asset for a commodity enzyme that can be used now as a catalyst for the upgrading of readily available and cheap lactose into high added-value glycosides in processes of organic synthesis in tune with green chemistry principles within the framework of sustainability. This is a reflection of a paradigm shift, where enzymes are now being considered as apt catalysts for the synthesis of valuable organic compounds. This article reviews the main applications of β-galactosidase, going from its conventional use related to its hydrolytic activity to the ongoing non-conventional applications in the synthesis of high added-value oligosaccharides based on its transgalactosylation activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140271
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Lactose hydrolysis
  • Lactose upgrading
  • Lactose-derived prebiotics
  • Transgalactosylation
  • β-Galactosidase


Dive into the research topics of 'Conventional and non-conventional applications of β-galactosidases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this