Determination of molecular size and shape of hyperbranched polysaccharide in solution

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Abstract

The chemical structure of a water-soluble polysaccharide, coded as TM3b, extracted from sclerotia of Pleurotus tuber-rigium was analyzed to be a hyperbranched β-D-glucan with β-(1→6), β-(1→4), and β-(1→3)–linked residues, with degree of branching (DB) of 57.6%. The results from size-exclusion chromatography combined with laser light scattering (SEC–LLS) revealed that the hyperbranched polysaccharide easily aggregated in 0.15 M aqueous NaCl, whereas it dispersed as individual chains in DMSO. The weight-average molecular weight (Mw), radius of gyration, intrinsic viscosity, and chain density of TM3b in DMSO and in 0.15 M aqueous NaCl were measured with SEC–LLS, LLS, and viscometry. The results indicated that single chains and aggregates with aggregation number of 12 coexisted in the aqueous solution, whereas individual molecules of TM3b occurred in DMSO. In view of the molecular parameters, the aggregates in aqueous solution exhibited more compact chain structure than the individual molecules in DMSO. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy showed that all of the aggregates and individual molecules exhibited spherical particles in the solutions. This work provided the valuable information of chain conformation and molecular morphology of the hyperbranched polysaccharide in different solvents. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 83:414–423, 2006

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