Trehalose, also known as mycose or tremalose, is a natural alpha-linked disaccharide formed by an α,α-1,1-glucoside bond between two α-glucose units
It can be synthesised by bacteria,fungi, plants, and invertebrate animals. It is implicated in anhydrobiosis — the ability
ofplants and animals to withstand prolonged periods of desiccation.
It has high water retention capabilities, and is used in food and cosmetics. The sugar is thought to form a gel phase ascells dehydrate, which prevents disruption of internal cell organelles, by effectively splinting them in position. Rehydration then allows normal cellular activity to be resumed without the major, lethal damage that would normally follow a dehydration/rehydration cycle.
Trehalose has the added advantage of being an antioxidant. Extracting trehalose used to be a difficult and costly process,
Trehalose is currently being used for a broad spectrum of applications.