To study the structure of β-glucans, we developed a separation method and molecular library of β-glucan oligosaccharides. The oligosaccharides were prepared by partial acid hydrolysis from laminarin, which is a β-glucan of Laminaria digitata. They were labeled with the 2-aminopyridine fluorophore and separated to homogeneity by size-fractionation and reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Branching structures of all isomeric oligosaccharides from trimers to pentamers were determined, and a two-dimensional (2D)-HPLC map of the β-glucan oligosaccharides was made based on the data. Next, structural analysis of the longer β-glucan oligosaccharide was performed using the 2D-HPLC map. A branched decamer oligosaccharide was isolated from the β-glucan and cleaved to smaller oligosaccharides by partial acid hydrolysis. The structure of the longer oligosaccharide was successfully elucidated from the fragment structures determined by the 2D-HPLC map. The molecular library and the 2D-HPLC map described in this study will be useful for the structural analysis of β-glucans.
To expand the range of soluble carbon sources for our enzyme production system, we investigated the properties of sucrose utilization and its effect on cellulase production by Trichoderma reesei M2-1. We performed batch cultivation of T. reesei M2-1 on sucrose and related sugars along with cellobiose, which was used as a cellulase inducer. The results clearly revealed that the hydrolysis products of sucrose, i.e. glucose and fructose, but not sucrose, can be used as a carbon source for enzyme production. In a 10-day continuous feeding experiment using invertase-treated sucrose/cellobiose, the fungal strain produced cellulases with a filter paper-degrading activity of 20.3 U/mL and production efficiency of 254 U/g-carbon sources. These values were comparable with those of glucose/cellobiose feeding (21.2 U/mL and 265 U/g-carbon sources, respectively). Furthermore, the comparison of the specific activities clearly indicated that the compositions of both produced enzymes were similar. Therefore, enzymatically hydrolyzed sucrose can be utilized as an alternative carbon source to glucose in our enzyme production system with T. reesei M2-1.