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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NOVEL TECHNOLOGIES FOR PRODUCING RENEWABLE CHEMICALS AND POLYMERS FROM CARBOHYDRATES DERIVED FROM AGRICULTURAL FEEDSTOCKS

Location: Renewable Product Technology Research Unit

Title: Applied research on glucansucrases

Author
item Cote, Gregory

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 26, 2011
Publication Date: June 26, 2011
Citation: Cote, G.L. 2011. Applied research on glucansucrases [abstract]. Bratislava Saccharide Symposium, Bratislava, Slovakia. p. 36.

Technical Abstract: Although glycansucrases have been known for over 70 years, they remain relatively unknown except to a small group of researchers. Practical, applied research on glycansucrases has been focused on certain key areas. The earliest of these was the development of blood plasma extenders from dextran, done during the 1940s and 50s in Sweden and at our laboratory. Later research, beginning during the 1960s and continuing today, focused on the role of glucansucrases in the formation of dental plaque. Most recently, glycansucrase research has been applied to the use of glucansucrases and fructansucrases for the synthesis of oligosaccharides as prebiotics and other nutraceuticals. At the USDA laboratory in Illinois, we have been working with glucansucrases since the late 1940s. Among the developments have been Leuconostoc mesenteroides NRRL strain B-512F, which is the most widespread commercial source of dextran, and more recently, sucromalt, a mixture of oligosaccharides used as a low-glycemic sweetener in foods for people with diabetes. Our most recent work involves the investigation of unusual dextrans for their unique polymer properties. We have found, for example, that dextrans with certain structural and physical properties can act as active corrosion protectants when applied to steel as a film (1). Among the less well-known dextrans are the water-insoluble glucans from L. mesenteroides strains. These are typified by sequences of a(1'3)-linked D-glucose residues. Depending on the length and distribution of these sequences, the solubility and gelling properties of the glucans may differ, although these parameters are not well characterized. Potential applications of glucansucrases are still being explored, and much remains to be done.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014