Trehalose is a naturally occurred disaccharide and was first discovered in a bacterium grown on rye by Wiggers in 1832. The research followed indicated that trehalose exists widely in nature, mostly in plants and microorganism, such as eatable mushroom, seaweed, legumes, shrimp, brewers and fermented yeast foods in daily life.
Trehalose is a non-reducing sugar consisting of two glucose molecules and is one of most stable sugar in the world. During the research of dehydration of plant cells, scientists found that trehalose can effectively prevent cell membrane, protein and other molecules from damage upon drying, and keep the natural biological character after re-hydration of the dried plants. Some insects that can keep alive even under the conditions of hyperthermia, deep-coldness, dehydrating etc, is largely attributed to the existence of trehalose as the main components. Trehalose has been proved from the abundant experimental results that trehalose can form a special protective layer around the protein and other biomolecules, efficiently protecting biologicals under harsh conditions such as hyperthermia, deep-coldness, hypertonia, dehydrating, and keep intact their biological characteristics. Trehalose is a kind of sugar that preserves life. Trehalose is not only useful for the food industry. Other sugars dont have this performance. One of the most important fact about trehalose is that both exogenous and endogenous trehalose have the same protective effect on living body and biological molecules. Because the amount of endogenous trehalose existed in most living bodies so small that utilization of exogenous trehalose became increasingly important in the fields such as pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics, agriculture and biotechnology. In addition to be excellent activity protective reagent of protein medicines, enzyme, vaccines and other bio-products, trehalose is the key important component of keeping cell activity and cosmetics moisture. Furthermore, trehalose is a unique food ingredient which can avoid the food degradation and then keep the fresh flavor of original food. So, as the sweetener, trehalose is widely used in food process.