temperature (12). Fructans are located in the vacuoles and are soluble in contrast to insoluble plastidic starch. Fructans can contribute to the osmotic potential of vacuole by changing their DP. An example of osmotic adaptation via the use of fructans is the rapid conversion of fructans into low-DP products as a mechanism to sustain petal expansion in the daylily has been reported (16). The introduction of fructans in tobacco plant enhanced its resistance to drought stress (17).

A possible advantage of vacuole as a storage organelle could be that the storage capacity of vacuoles might be larger than that of plastids, since the vacuole constitutes 95% of the protoplast volume. Fructan storage capacity in plants may be further increased by the formation of specialized organs like bulbs (onion, tulip), tubers (Jerusalem artichoke and dahlia), succulent stem (Agave) and taproot (chicory). Fructan is indeed often accumulated to higher quantities than starch (18).

There is a great potential for the use of fructans as a raw material in a number of interesting food and non-food applications (19-20). The only crop plants used for inulin production are jerusalem artichoke and chicory. Industrial plants extracting fructans from chicory roots have been started in Europe. Indeed fructans are a more direct source for high fructose syrup production than starch or sucrose (21). A search for an efficient and thermally stable inulinase for producing fructose from inulin is an area in which many laboratories are working (22-25). However this aspect has not been covered in this chapter.

Man can also use Fructans. They have useful physical and physiological characteristics that makes them not only interesting for use in food and animal feed, but also in many non-food applications like biopolymer industry (26). Because of non-digestibility of fructans in the small intestine, fructose based oligo- and polysaccharides can also be used as health-promoting (Bifidobacteria-stimulating) dietary fibers (20). Fructans can also be used as bulking agents and substitute of fat in the production of low calorie food.

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