The partially acetylated acidic mucilage isolated from the cactus Opuntia ficus-indica consists of a highly branched molecule containing D-galactose, L-arabinose, D-xylose, D-galacturonic acid and L-rhamnose in the ratio 2.9:6.6:3.8:1.3 : 1.0. A partial hydrolysis study led to the isolation of fourteen oligosaccharides and a degraded polysaccharide. Periodate oxidation of the degraded polysaccharide and methylation analysis of the degraded and reduced degraded polysaccharides led to the proposal of a structure for the degraded polysaccharide consisting of a chain of alternating α-l,4-D-galactopyranosyluronic acid and β-1,2-Lrhamnopyranosyl units with branches consisting of short chains of β-1,6-D-galactopyranosyl units Iinked to C-3 of the rhamnose residues. An insight into the nature of the peripheral side-chains was obtained by methylation studies of the oligosaccharides and the native polysaccharide. The majority of the side-chains are terminated by D-xylopyranosyl and L-arabinofuranosyl units while there is a small proportion of D-galactopyranosyl end-groups. The remaining units of the peripheral chains consists of mainly 1,3- and 1,5-1 inked L-arabinofuranosyl units. The acidic polysaccharide isolated from the jointed cactus Opuntia aurantiaca contains D-galactose, L-arabinose, D-xylose, D-galacturonic acid and L-rhamnose in the ratio 5.9:5 .5:3.4: 1. 2:1.0 . A partial hydrolysis study revealed a similar series of galactose containing oligosaccharides as was identified from the mucilage of Opuntia ficus-indica. The degraded polysaccharide isolated from the partial hydrolysate was methylated and a possible structure proposed for the repeating unit. Methylation studies of the native polysaccharide indicated a polysaccharide with a more complex structure than that for the mucilage of Opuntia ficus-indica.
|Rhodes University, Faculty of Science, Chemistry
|South African National ETD Portal
|Thesis, Doctoral, PhD
|138 leaves, pdf
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