Starch is a natural polysaccharide that makes up a large part of the human diet. The compound itself is biodegradable and is used in a wide variety of applications. Due to its relatively low price and its high availability starch is an attractive substrate for (enzymatic) modification. The discovery of the GtfB enzyme (4,6-α-glucanotransferase) opens up a new way to modify starch. This enzyme is able to alter the intrinsic properties of starch by cleaving α-1,4 glycosidic linkages and introducing α-1,6 glycosidic linkages into the polysaccharide.
Highlight of the past year
Last year we found evidence of a high molecular weight fraction in the produced IMMPs. This year we were able to fractionate the high molecular weight fraction from the IMMPs on a preparative scale. This fractionation with Size Exclusion Chromatography, based on their hydrodynamic volume, paves the way for in depth structural analysis. Each obtained fraction will be thoroughly analyzed on linkage content with 1H NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and methylation analysis.
The aim of this project is to make the IMMPs, to map the properties, and to design optimal products for further applications.
Opportunities for thesis projects
- In depth chemical analysis of novel polysaccharides, including; molecular weight, ratio of α-1,4: α-1,6 linkages and directed (enzymatic) modification.
- Physical analysis of novel polysaccharides, including; viscosity, elasticity, gel strength, glass transition point and directed (enzymatic) modification.