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Enzymatic and cell factory approaches to the production of human milk oligosaccharides.
Faijes, M. Castejón, C. Val-Cid, A. Planas.
Biotechnology Advances 37, 667–697 (2019).


Infant formula milk companies try to develop fortified formula milk that mimics human milk as closely as possible, since it is well-known that breast milk has considerable implications in the development of the infant in the first years of life. Human milk is unique in terms of complex oligosaccharides content, known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). Their role in the development of intestinal flora blocking the attachment of pathogens and modulating the immune system of the infant are currently recognized. Due to these biological effects, there is a great interest to introduce the main HMOs in the infant formula milk. Therefore, efficient synthetic strategies for HMOs production are required. Here we present a complete review of HMO production using either (chemo)enzymatic syntheses or cell factory approaches, focusing on the strategies that produce HMOs at least at the milligram scale. 42 HMO structures have already been produced as free sugars. Whereas short HMOs are well obtained by cell factory approaches, complex and branched HMOs are better produced by chemoenzymatic strategies. Inspite of the current advances, production strategies of some biologically relevant HMOs are still missing.