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An assessment of methanolysis and other factors used in the analysis of carbohydrate-containing materials

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The stability of monosaccharides in methanolic hydrochloric acid of different strengths and at different temperatures was determined. They are generally stable for 24h in methanolic 1m- and 2m-hydrochloric acid at both 85°C and 100°C, but undergo considerable destruction in methanolic 4m- and 6m-hydrochloric acid at 100°C. Analysis of glycopeptides and oligosaccharides of known composition showed that release of carbohydrate was complete within 3h in methanolic 1m-hydrochloric acid at 85°C. Removal of methanolic hydrochloric acid by rotary evaporation resulted in considerable losses of monosaccharides, which could be prevented by prior neutralization. Methanolysis caused extensive de-N-acetylation of acetamidohexoses, so that a re-N-acetylation step is necessary in the analytical procedure. The addition of acetic anhydride for this purpose also prevented loss of internal standard by adsorption on the insoluble silver salts used in neutralization. Several trimethylsilylating agents were studied and suitable conditions are recommended. The effects on the analytical system of water and some common organic and inorganic contaminants are assessed.

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