Analysis of G-Block Distributions and Their Impact on Gel Properties of in Vitro Epimerized Mannuronan
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBiomacromolecules. 2013, 14 (10), 3409-3416. 10.1021/bm400658k
This paper reports a study of the distribution and function of homopolymeric guluronic acid blocks (G-blocks) in enzymatically modified alginate. High molecular weight mannuronan was incubated with one native (AlgE6) and two engineered G-block generating mannuronan C-5 epimerases (AlgE64 and EM1). These samples were found to contain G-blocks with a DP ranging from 20 to approximately 50, lacking the extremely long G-blocks (DP > 100) found in algal alginates. Calcium gels from epimerized materials were highly compressible and exhibited higher syneresis and rupture strength but lower Youngs modulus than gels made from algal polymers of similar G-content. Addition of extremely long G-blocks to the epimerized alginate resulted in decreased syneresis and rupture strength and an increased Young’s modulus that can be explained by reinforcement of the cross-linking zones at the cost of length and/or numbers of elastic segments. The presence and impact of these extremely long G-blocks found in natural alginates suggest that alginate gels can be viewed as a nanocomposite material.