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Polysaccharides of the red algae.

Authors
  • Usov, Anatolii I
Type
Published Article
Journal
Advances in carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2011
Volume
65
Pages
115–217
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385520-6.00004-2
PMID: 21763512
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Red algae (Rhodophyta) are known as the source of unique sulfated galactans, such as agar, agarose, and carrageenans. The wide practical uses of these polysaccharides are based on their ability to form strong gels in aqueous solutions. Gelling polysaccharides usually have molecules built up of repeating disaccharide units with a regular distribution of sulfate groups, but most of the red algal species contain more complex galactans devoid of gelling ability because of various deviations from the regular structure. Moreover, several red algae may contain sulfated mannans or neutral xylans instead of sulfated galactans as the main structural polysaccharides. This chapter is devoted to a description of the structural diversity of polysaccharides found in the red algae, with special emphasis on the methods of structural analysis of sulfated galactans. In addition to the structural information, some data on the possible use of red algal polysaccharides as biologically active polymers or as taxonomic markers are briefly discussed.

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