The Kagawa University International Institute of Rare Sugar Research and Education is a world leader in production of various rare sugars and in the search of functional properties of rare sugars. This center is the Core for Excellence in the rare sugar research.

 

The Kagawa University International Institute of Rare Sugar Research and Education was established in 2001 at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University. In 2002, the Rare Sugar Application Research Center was established at Kagawa Medical University. When the two universities were amalgamated in 2004, the two centers were also united to become the International Institute of Rare Sugar Research and Education.

 

“Rare sugars” are monosaccharides (minimal functional unit of sugars) that occur only rarely in nature. There are about 50 types of rare sugar. They are not readily available for research purposes because of their high cost and low availability. However, research in Kagawa has made the production of rare sugars possible by using “Izumoring”, a newly discovered structural framework of all monosaccharides. Rare sugars produced by the Takamatsu cluster include those that are not commercially available such as L-Psicose.

 

 

Research

After developing the production of rare sugars, progress has been made in research on bioactivities in a wide range of organisms, from molecules (micro level) to higher animals (macro level), and discoveries continue to occur.

 

Focusing on useful property of D-Psicose as a food material, development of D-Psicose into “a specified health food” is rapidly advancing. D-psicose has anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, and anti-atherosclerotic effects.

 

The effects of rare sugars on plants have been found to accelerate the studies to produce “ecological pesticides”. For pharmaceutical and quasi drug product development, the application of the characteristic effects of D-Allose, including the antioxidation effect, has been studied mainly for development of preservative solutions for cells and organs.

 

Industry-academic-government collaboration studies on “rare sugars” as “dream materials” is rapidly growing because the great potential of rare sugars. The Kagawa University International Institute of Rare Sugar Research and Education will continue to be a leader in advancing rare sugar research and application.

 

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