Discovery could lead to new fungicides to protect rice crops

A fungus that plagues rice crops worldwide gains entry to plant cells in a way that leaves it vulnerable to simple chemical blockers, a discovery that could lead to new fungicides to reduce the substantial annual losses of ...

Bacterial enzyme makes new type of biodegradable polymer

Strings of sugars called polysaccharides are the most abundant biopolymers on Earth. Because of their versatile and environmentally friendly properties, these molecules could eventually replace some plastics. Now, researchers ...

This is your gut on sushi

The next time you get a craving for sushi rolls, you may feel a renewed appreciation for the ocean. It's to thank not only for your fish and seaweed wrapper, but, as a new Michigan Medicine study suggests, for the bacteria ...

New complex carbohydrate discovered in barley

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered a new complex carbohydrate in barley. The first of its kind to be discovered in over 30 years, the cereal polysaccharide has potential applications in food, medicine and ...

Could eating moss be good for your gut?

An international team of scientists including the University of Adelaide has discovered a new complex carbohydrate in moss that could possibly be exploited for health or other uses.

Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs

Using neutron crystallography, a Los Alamos research team has mapped the three-dimensional structure of a protein that breaks down polysaccharides, such as the fibrous cellulose of grasses and woody plants, a finding that ...

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Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure, these macromolecules can have distinct properties from their monosaccharide building blocks. They may be amorphous or even insoluble in water.

When all the monosaccharides in a polysaccharide are the same type, the polysaccharide is called a homopolysaccharide or homoglycan, but when more than one type of monosaccharide is present they are called heteropolysaccharides or heteroglycans.

Examples include storage polysaccharides such as starch and glycogen, and structural polysaccharides such as cellulose and chitin.

Polysaccharides have a general formula of Cx(H2O)y where x is usually a large number between 200 and 2500. Considering that the repeating units in the polymer backbone are often six-carbon monosaccharides, the general formula can also be represented as (C6H10O5)n where 40≤n≤3000.

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