Bottom-up synthesis of β-glucans such as callose, fungal β-(1,3)(1,6)-glucan and cellulose, can create the defined compounds that are needed to perform fundamental studies on glucan properties and develop applications. With the importance of β-glucans and cellulose in high-profile fields such as nutrition, renewables-based biotechnology and materials science, the enzymatic synthesis of such relevant carbohydrates and their derivatives has attracted much attention. Here we review recent developments in enzymatic synthesis of β-glucans and cellulose, with a focus on progress made over the last five years. We cover the different types of biocatalysts employed, their incorporation in cascades, the exploitation of enzyme promiscuity and their engineering, and reaction conditions affecting the production as well as in situ self-assembly of (non)functionalised glucans. The recent achievements in the application of glycosyl transferases and β-1,4- and β-1,3-glucan phosphorylases demonstrate the high potential and versatility of these biocatalysts in glucan synthesis in both industrial and academic contexts.
- Glycoside hydrolases
- Glycoside phosphorylases