are high-molecular-weight polymers that are composed of sugar residues and are secreted by a microorganism
into the surrounding environment. Microorganisms synthesize a wide spectrum of multifunctional polysaccharides
including intracellular polysaccharides, structural polysaccharides and extracellular polysaccharides or exopolysaccharides (EPS). Exopolysaccharides generally constitute of monosaccharides and some non-carbohydrate substituents (such as acetate
, and phosphate
). Owing to the wide diversity in composition, exopolysaccharides have found multifarious applications in various food and pharmaceutical industries. Many microbial EPS provide properties that are almost identical to the gums
currently in use. With innovative approaches, efforts are underway to supersede the traditionally used plant and algal gums by their microbial counterparts. Moreover, considerable progress has been made in discovering and developing new microbial EPS that possess novel industrial significance.
List of exopolysaccharides