Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-size exclusion chromatography (UPLC-SEC) as an efficient tool for the rapid and highly informative characterisation of biopolymers

Natalia Perez-Moral, Jean-Michel Plankeele, Claire Domoney, Frederick J. Warren

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Starch has a complex molecular structure, with properties dependent on the relative chain lengths and branching structure of its constituent molecules, which varies due to variation in starch biosynthetic genes. Here we present the application of ultra-high performance size exclusion chromatography to the separation of starch chains from plant seeds. Several methods, have been used to analyse chain length distributions in starch, all with limitations in terms of analysis time, sample preparation and molecular weight range. Here we demonstrate that chain length distributions can be obtained with dramatically reduced analysis time using ultra-high performance size exclusion chromatography. The method may also show improvements in resolution of some fine structural features. Understanding links between starch fine structure and biosynthetic genes will allow bioengineering of starches with tailored properties. This technique may have application to the size separation and resolution of a range of biopolymers of value to the food, drink and pharmaceutical industries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-426
Number of pages5
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2018


  • Starch
  • UPLC
  • Size Exclusion Chromatography
  • molecular structure
  • chain length distribution

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