New Thermostable Alpha-Galactosidase for Use as a Flatulence-Reducing Agent

Invention Summary:

Humans and other monogastric animals, lack the ability to synthesize sufficient α-galactosidase in their intestinal systems to hydrolyze the α-galactosides present in soybean and other legumes and vegetables known to cause flatulence and gastrointestinal upset. These gastric disturbances reduce general consumer acceptance of flatulence-causing foods. In this context, Rutgers scientists and collaborators have isolated and identified a nucleic acid from the bacterium Thermotoga neapolitana that encodes a thermostable alpha-galactosidase. Large quantities of purified thermostable alpha-galactosidase can be obtained by cloning the Thermotoga gene into a high expression vector. This purified enzyme can then be used for various commercial purposes. For example, the thermostable alpha-galactosidase can either be used as a flatulence-reducing agent or advantageously added to any α-galactoside-containing legume or legume product that is processed, even if processing uses a heating step.

Market Application:

  • Dietary Supplement
  • Biotechnology
  • Food
  • Soybean
  • Additive to Flatulence-causing Legumes and Vegetables


  • The thermostable alpha-galactosidase of this invention offers major biotechnological and commercial advantages:
  • Contrary to other similar available products that are denatured at high temperature, the alpha-galactosidase of this invention is thermostable.
  • Produced thermostable alpha-galactosidase can be added directly to beans and other legumes and vegetables during cooking.

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Issued United States Patent 6,150,171

Rutgers ID: 1997-0028
Deborah Perez
Senior Licensing Manager
Douglas Eveleigh
Dinesh Yernool
Michael King
Raymond Sullivan
Bruce Chassy
Food science