Standard Article

Disaccharide, Oligosaccharide and Polysaccharide Analysis

Carbohydrate Analysis

  1. Anne D. Blackwood,
  2. Martin F. Chaplin

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0303

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Blackwood, A. D. and Chaplin, M. F. 2006. Disaccharide, Oligosaccharide and Polysaccharide Analysis. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. South Bank University, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides form a very diverse and complex family of biologically important macromolecules. In order to discover their structure it is necessary to determine not only monosaccharides present and their linkage positions and sequence, but also the anomeric configuration of linkages, the ring size (furanose or pyranose), the absolute configuration (d or l) and identify any other substituents present. There is no one method that can be used to determine their fine structure; instead we must use a combination of analytical methods to gain as much information as we can. For analysis of disaccharide and oligosaccharide mixtures, separation and quantification techniques such as colorimetric and enzymatic assays, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) or high-performance anion-exchange chromatography may be applied. For polysaccharide analysis separation and extraction techniques, component analysis, methylation analysis, glycosidic hydrolysis, mass spectrometry (MS) methods, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy are required to determine the fine structure and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) coupled with light scattering (LS) detectors to determine the molecular size distribution.