GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Function Breakdown of glucans, particularly of barley
Application Beer (not allowed in Germany), wine; animal feed
Production using gene technology possible
Labelling no


Function (Beta-) glucanases break down glucans, which are starchlike compounds (polysaccharides) which occur in plants such as barley. Glucans belong to the group of hemicelluloses (cf. also hemicellulase).


  • Glucanases are used in beer brewing to remove quickly and completely the glucans contained in the brewing barley. These glucans may clog filters and lead to the necessity for frequent cleaning. The barley produces its own glucanases – however, these are not sufficient to remove all glucans present in the beer. In Germany, the use of enzymes in brewing is a violation of the purity laws and therefore is not allowed.

  • In the production of wine: glucanases are used in the clarification of must and in the enhacement of filterability; they are most often used in late harvests when the grapes are affected by the Botrytis fungus.

  • Also as a feed additive (poulty, pork): glucanases enhance the digestability of plant-based animal feeds by breaking down the glucans present in the feed.

  • Starch production, as well as in the production of baked goods and diet products

Applications of glucanase:

  • textile industry (as bleaching agent)

Gene technology

(Beta-) glucanases are produced through fermentation with a variety of fungi and bacteria.

  • Genetically modified microorganisms also are used in the production of glucanases. Three glucanase preparations made with genetically modified microorganisms (Aspergillus, Bacillus, Trichoderma) are commercially marketed.

Labelling: labelling of enzymes in regard to their production using GM microorganisms is generally not foreseen in the European Union.


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GMO Database: Contains information on every GM plant that has been approved or is awaiting authorisation in the EU.
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