Investigating the nature of branching in pectin by atomic force microscopy and carbohydrate analysis

Andrew N. Round, Neil M. Rigby, Alistair J. MacDougall, Steven G. Ring, Victor J. Morris

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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to investigate the nature of the long branches attached to pectin which were described in a previous report [Round, A. N.; MacDougall, A. J.; Ring, S. G.; Morris, V. J. Carbohydr. Res. 1997, 303, 251-253]. Analysis of the AFM images and comparison with neutral sugar and linkage analyses of the two pectin fractions suggest that the distribution and total amount of branches observed do not correspond with the pattern of neutral sugar distribution. It is thus postulated that the long chains consist of polygalacturonic acid, attached via an as yet undetermined linkage to the pectin backbone, with the neutral sugars present as short, undetected branches. This explanation would have important implications for the nature of 'in situ' pectin networks within plant cell walls and models of gelation in commercial extracted pectin. and the existence of significant branching will markedly influence the viscosity of extracted pectins. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-342
Number of pages6
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • polygalacturonic acid
  • viscosity
  • gelation
  • plant cell walls
  • branching patterns

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