Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates polymers made up of many monosaccharide units that are held together by glycosidic bonds. They are sometimes called glycans. They are large, often branched, naturally occurring biopolymers that can be comprised of different monosaccharides resulting in a complex macromolecular structure. Polysaccharides have the general formula of Cn(H2O)n-1 with molecular weights from thousands to millions of Daltons.

They can be made up of one monosaccharide unit (homopolysaccharides) or more than one (heteropolysaccharides). They may contain amino acid residues and the sugars can be linked together in different places. In addition to the multiple component structure of the saccharide, polysacharrides are polydisperse. They made up of a distribution of molecules of different molecular weights.

Polysaccharides are ubiquitous in nature and of enormous diversity, and serve multiple functions in living systems including storage and structure. The applications are many including drug delivery, tissue supplementation, and an as drug components.

For structure analysis of polysaccharides the following aspects have to be elucidated:

  • Nature and molar ratios of the contained monosaccharide building blocks
  • Positions of the glycosidic linkages
  • Distinction of furanosidic and pyranosidic forms
  • Anomeric configuration
  • Monomer sequences and identification of repeating units
  • Position and nature of OH-modifications such as O-phosphorylation or O-sulfation.

At Analytical Ventura, we have years of experience characterizing systems such as polysaccharides. Our scientists are happy to work with you to help you with your application and will work best for you and to develop a solution most suitable for your analytical challenges.

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