Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 1717–1729 | Cite as

Continuous production of pectic oligosaccharides from sugar beet pulp in a cross flow continuous enzyme membrane reactor

  • Kathy ElstEmail author
  • Neha Babbar
  • Sandra Van Roy
  • Stefania Baldassarre
  • Winnie Dejonghe
  • Miranda Maesen
  • Stefano Sforza
Research Paper


Sugar beet pulp pectin is an attractive source for the production of pectic oligosaccharides, an emerging class of potential prebiotics. The main aim of the present work was to investigate a new process allowing to produce pectic oligosaccharides in a continuous way by means of a cross flow enzyme membrane reactor while using a low-cost crude enzyme mixture (viscozyme). Preliminary experiments in batch and semi-continuous setups allowed to identify suitable enzyme concentrations and assessing filtration suitability. Then, in continuous experiments in the enzyme membrane reactor, residence time and substrate loading were further optimized. The composition of the obtained oligosaccharide mixtures was assessed at the molecular level for the most promising conditions and was shown to be dominated by condition-specific arabinans, rhamnogalacturonans, and galacturonans. A continuous and stable production was performed for 28.5 h at the optimized conditions, obtaining an average pectic oligosaccharide yield of 82.9 ± 9.9% (w/w), a volumetric productivity of 17.5 ± 2.1 g/L/h, and a specific productivity of 8.0 ± 1.0 g/g E/h. This work demonstrated for the first time the continuous and stable production of oligosaccharide mixtures from sugar beet pulp using enzyme membrane reactor technology in a setup suitable for upscaling.


Pectic oligosaccharides Sugar beet pulp Enzyme membrane reactor Volumetric productivity Continuous production 



The authors acknowledge IGV GmbH (Potsdam, Germany) for providing the sugar beet pulp raw material. Neha Babbar gratefully acknowledges the PhD scholarship Grant from VITO (Mol, Belgium) and University of Parma (Parma, Italy).


This study was funded by the European commission (FP7, NOSHAN, Grant agreement 312140).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

449_2018_1995_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 30 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Separation and Conversion TechnologyVITO-Flemish Institute for Technological ResearchMolBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Food and DrugUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly

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