Standard Article

Carbohydrate Analysis


  1. Martin F. Chaplin

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200300011

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Chaplin, M. F. 2006. Carbohydrate Analysis. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. South Bank University, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Carbohydrates form a complex family of molecules that necessitate a variety of analytical approaches. They are capable of forming a large number of distinct structures using relatively few units. In addition, the more complex carbohydrates are rarely found to exist as single structural entities; polymorphism is common, and often a given molecule is found as an assortment of closely related structures. These mixtures of complex structures give rise to analytical problems that are much more difficult to solve than those concerning protein analysis. Typical protocols involve isolation and purification, determination of the constituent carbohydrates, partial hydrolysis of polysaccharides or glycosaminoglycans or cleavage of the intact glycans from the protein or lipid moieties, and isolation and purification of these fragments. Chromatographic purification techniques are followed by mass spectrometry and/or NMR spectroscopy. Absolute molecular weights of larger molecules are determined by light scattering, but uncovering their conformation often requires the assistance of molecular dynamics. However difficult to obtain, a solid understanding of the structure and conformation of carbohydrates is required a our proper understanding of their biological roles.


  • Anomeric Structure;
  • Antennary Structure;
  • Capillary Electrophoresis;
  • COSY;
  • Endoglycosidase;
  • Exoglycosidase;
  • FAB-MS;
  • FFF;
  • GC;
  • Glycan;
  • HPLC;
  • Lectins;
  • MALLS;
  • NMR;
  • NOESY;
  • O-Glycoside;
  • ROESY;
  • SEC;
  • TLC