1995 Volume 43 Issue 6 Pages 1057-1060
Small molecular weight (MW) glucan derivatives could be a useful tool for studying the mechanisms of β-glucan mediated biological activity, especially as antagonists for a β-glucan receptor. This paper descrived the stability of various (1→6) branched (1→3)-β-D-glucans to formolysis in the preparation of small MW derivatives. The glucans used were curdlan (linear), pachyman (few branches), GRN (one branch in every third main chain unit; 2/6), SPG (2/6), SSG (3/6), and OL-2 (4/6). Curdlan and pachyman were easily degraded to oligosaccharides by degradation for 20 min at 100°C by 90% formic acid. However, branched glucans, especially the highly branched glucans, SSG and OL-2, were significantly resistant to degradation, and the majority remained high MW. SSG required a longer period and/or a higher temperature (121°C treatment) to produce small MW derivatives. Branched glucans were also resistant to zymolyase (an endo-(1→3)-β-D-glucan hydrolase) digestion. These facts suggest that the (1→6)-β-D-branched residues contribute to the glucans' resistance to formic acid degradation and zymolyase digestion.