A biopolymer with a multitude of demonstrated practical applications, Pullulan brand named as Kopulan by Kumar Organic Products Ltd., is a natural polysaccharide excreted by the Marine Black Yeast: Aureobasidium pullulans. It is manufactured by fermentation process, using yeast which is neither genetically modified nor pathogenic. This non-ionic polysaccharide is currently exploited in cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries due to its unique characteristics.
Chemically, it consists of repeated unit of maltotriose units where three glucose units in maltotriose are connected by an α-1,4 glycosidic bond and consecutive maltotriose units are connected to each other by an α-1,6 glycosidic bond.
The unique linkage pattern in Pullulan is responsible for its structural flexibility and solubility, resulting in distinct film and fibre–forming characteristics, not exhibited by other polysaccharides.
Kopulan is a white to off white powder and is flavourless, odourless tasteless and extremely stable. It is edible, biodegradable, non toxic and non immunogenic and dissolve readily in hot or cold water. Pullulan solutions are of relatively low viscosity; viscosity is stable to heating, changes in pH and most metal ions, including sodium chloride. Its viscosity remains constant at relatively high concentration and does not form a gel. It decomposes at 250⁰C — 280⁰C.
The films are clear, highly oxygen-impermeable and have excellent mechanical properties. Underivatized films readily dissolve in water, and melt in the mouth. Pullulan is available as a white powder, odourless, flavourless and highly stable.
Being a versatile polysaccharide it has wide and interesting application in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry with a technology platform for innovation.
In cosmetics, Kopulan is used for its binding, agglomerating and thickening properties. It binds well in presence of surfactants like Sodium dodecyl sulphate and makes it ideal choice for cosmetic preparations like creams, lotions, gels, balms, lipsticks, lip gloss, eye gel etc. Kopulan dissolves in water easily making it ideal for wash off products. Its excellent adhesiveness properties can be used in dried sprays, roll-ons and lotions.
Kopulan film is strong and its shape is retained during printing; this ensures high quality images that are readily being achieved when used in confectionery and bakery products. When consumed it is largely resistant to digestion in the gastrointestinal tract as a result of occasional presence of 1, 3-glycosidic linkages and high percentage of alpha-1, 6-glycosidic linkages, which are resistant to hydrolysis by salivary and pancreatic amylases. The degree of digestion depends on relative molecular mass. Since, Pullulan is not degraded by the digestive enzymes of the human alimentary tract to a significant extent; it can act as probiotics in human digestive system.
In pharmaceutical industry, Kopulan is used as an excipient. It is used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin in the production of capsule shells, as an ingredient of coated tablets and in edible flavored films. Its excellent oxygen barrier properties ensure that the shelf life of products is enhanced. Its distinct advantage over gelatin capsules is that it is almost impermeable to oxygen, thus suitable for encapsulating even oxidation-sensitive ingredients, while there is less need for anti-oxidants.