Molecules. 2021 Apr 7;26(8):2113. doi: 10.3390/molecules26082113.
Beta glucan (β-glucan) has promising bioactive properties. Consequently, the use of β-glucan as a food additive is favored with the dual-purpose potential of increasing the fiber content of food products and enhancing their health properties. Our aim was to evaluate the biological activity of β-glucan (antimicrobial, antitoxic, immunostimulatory, and anticancer) extracted from Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a modified acid-base extraction method. The results demonstrated that a modified acid-base extraction method gives a higher biological efficacy of β-glucan than in the water extraction method. Using 0.5 mg dry weight of acid-base extracted β-glucan (AB extracted) not only succeeded in removing 100% of aflatoxins, but also had a promising antimicrobial activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria, fungi, and yeast, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.39 and 0.19 mg/mL in the case of resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, respectively. In addition, AB extract exhibited a positive immunomodulatory effect, mediated through the high induction of TNFα, IL-6, IFN-γ, and IL-2. Moreover, AB extract showed a greater anticancer effect against A549, MDA-MB-232, and HepG-2 cells compared to WI-38 cells, at high concentrations. By studying the cell death mechanism using flow-cytometry, AB extract was shown to induce apoptotic cell death at higher concentrations, as in the case of MDA-MB-231 and HePG-2 cells. In conclusion, the use of a modified AB for β-glucan from Saccharomyces cerevisiae exerted a promising antimicrobial, immunomodulatory efficacy, and anti-cancer potential. Future research should focus on evaluating β-glucan in various biological systems and elucidating the underlying mechanism of action.