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By Ian W. Sutherland

This quantity offers an intensive account of the constitution and synthesis of microbial exopolysaccharides and in their frequent program throughout a large diversity of industries, together with nutrition, oil and medication. The profitable exploitation of those polysaccharides calls for a valid medical figuring out in their chemical and actual houses and likewise their biochemistry and biosynthesis.

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Coli K4, possesses a chondroitin backbone to which j8-D-fructofuranosyl residues are attached at the C3 position of the D-glucuronic acid. After removal of the fructosyl residues by mild acid treatment, the polysaccharide is a substrate for both hyaluronidase and chondroitinase. Several bacterial species are capable of producing hyaluronic acid, apparently identical in chemical structure to that obtained from eukaryotic Heteropolysaccharides (a) 29 -4)-a-D-Glc7VAc(1^4)-P-D-GlcA(l-> (b) Fig. 8. The structure of the desulphatoheparin-like polymer from E.

C. M. (1987). Industrial polysaccharides. The impact of biotechnology and advanced methodologies. Gordon and Breach, New York. 1. Introduction While microbial exopolysaccharides, in common with similar polymers from other sources, are the substrates for degradative enzymes, the number of polysaccharases that have been isolated and characterised is relatively small. Only a small number of the polysaccharide-producing microbial species also yield enzymes degrading the same polymers. The exceptions include some of the bacterial species synthesising alginate and hyaluronic acid.

Introduction The biosynthesis of most exopolysaccharides closely resembles the process by which the bacterial wall polymers peptidoglycan and lipopolysaccharide are formed. Indeed, the three types of macromolecule share the characteristic of being formed of carbohydrates and associated monomers, being synthesised at the cell membrane and exported to final sites external to the cytoplasmic membrane. The only exceptions are the exopolysaccharide levans and dextrans, which are synthesised by a totally extracellular process and whose formation will be discussed later in this chapter.

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