Inulin belongs to the class of carbohydrates and is known as fructants. Oligofructose is obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of inulin. Inulin is used in the food industry because of its functional properties, low calorie value, dietary fiber and prebiotic effects. Stimulates the development of bifidobacteria in the intestines. In addition, it reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Industrially, inulin is produced from chicory and is found in the roots and tubers of plants such as inulin, dahlias, asparagus, onions, artichokes, dandelions and locusts (Crow, 2005).
Inulin is colorless and odorless. Slightly sweet when dissolved in water. Depending on the degree of polymerization (DP) it is classified as both soluble and insoluble fiber. Most plants, especially dicotyledons, are carbohydrate stores. In the food industry, chicory (Cichorium intybus) and ground diamond (Helianthus tuberosus) are widely used, but are also available in garlic, asparagus, onions, leeks and bananas (Rocha et al., 2006).
Inulin replaces starch alone as a replacement polysaccharide in the roots and tubers of said plants, or in some plants with starch, and between 40 and 45 percent inulin are reported in the endive roots and locus. It is a white, tasteless, odorless powder that is reported to be gelatinised when heated in water, which is colloidally soluble inulin. It is reported that inulin, which is insoluble in alcohol and ether, dyed yellow with iodine, has a low reducing power, is resistant to alkalis such as starch and glycogen, can be hydrolyzed to D-fructose with various acids and is resistant to amylase enzyme (Kelly, 2008).
Inulin is used as a fat substitute in dairy products due to its interaction with whey protein and casein. Long chain and high molecular weight inulin are more preferred as oil substitutes. The chain length reduces solubility and makes the inulin mixed with water and milk take the form of microcrystals, creating a creamy feeling in the mouth.
Today, as a result of the indirect effects of human nutrition and health, it has started to be used as an ingredient in many industries (confectionery industry, chocolate industry, lacquer industry, cheese industry (especially in low fat cheese production) and salad dressing industry).
**RESOURCES** Crow, D. 2005. Inulin-A comprehensive Scientific Review. Kelly,GND, 2008. Inulin-Type Prebiotics – A Review: Part 1. Alternative Medicine Review Volume 13, Number 4. 315-329. Rocha,J.R.,Catana, R., Ferreira, B. S.,Cabral, J. M.S., &Fernandes, P. (2006). Design and characterisation of an enzyme system for inulin hydrolysis. *Food Chemistry* , 95,77-82.