Biocatalytic synthesis of disaccharide high‐intensity sweeterner sucralose via a tetrachlororaffinose intermediate

Christopher Bennett, Jonathan S. Dordick, Andrew J. Hacking, Peter S.J. Cheetham

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19 Scopus citations


A second high‐yielding bioorganic synthesis of the highintensity sweetener sucralose (4,1′,6′‐trichloro‐4,1′,6′‐trideoxygalactosucrose) is described. This procedure involves the chemical chlorination of raffinose to form a novel tetrachloroaffinose intermediate (6,4′,1″,6″‐tetrachloro‐6,4′,1″,6″‐tetradeoxygalactoraffinose; TCR) followed by the enzymic hydrolysis of the α‐1‐6 glycosidic bond of TCR to give sucralose and 6‐chlorogalactose. Commercial enzyme preparations and microorganisms were screened to select α‐galactosidases which have high catalytic activity on this compound. The most active enzyme was produced by a strain of Mortierella vinacea and had a maximum rate of 118 μmol sucralose/g dry weight cells/h, which was approximately 5% of the activity toward raffinose, and a Km of 5.8 mM toward TCR. The enzyme could be used in the form of mycelial pellets in a continuous packed bed column reactor. The reaction was also studied in a water‐immiscible hydrophilic organic solvent, such as methyl isobutyl ketone, to overcome the poor aqueous solubility of TCR and to increase volumetric productivity. Synthesis of raffinose was achieved from saturated aqueous solutions of galactose and sucrose using a selected α‐galactosidase from Aspergillus niger. When raffinose is used as a starting material for sucralose synthesis, this route has fewer steps than either the preceeding method using glucose‐6‐acetate as an intermediate or the complete chemical synthesis from sucrose. The relative merits of the two bioorganic routes and the utility of such methods to synthesize new sugars are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • M. vinacea
  • chemical chlorination
  • enzymic hydrolysis
  • mycelial pellets
  • raffinose
  • sucralose tetrachlororaffinose


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