CONICET-Universidad de Buenos Aires, Centro de Investigación de Hidratos de Carbono (CIHIDECAR), Ciudad Universitaria, Pabellón 2, C1428EGA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Agronomía, Departamento de Biología Aplicada y Alimentos, Cátedra de Química de Biomoléculas, Av. San Martín 4453, C1417DSE, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Electronic address: [Email]
Red seaweed Gracilariopsis hommersandii produces important amounts of non-gelling galactans, which were extracted with hot water (GrC, yield, 37%, viscosity average molecular weight, Mv 109 kDa), comprising agarose and sulfated galactan structures. The alkali modified derivative, GrCTr (Mv 95 kDa), gave a galactose:3,6-anhydrogalactose molar ratio of 1.0:0.9, and a more regular structure, favouring gelation (melting and gelling temperatures 64 and 14 °C, respectively). The rheological properties of this product suggest possible applications as hydrocolloid. G. hommersandii also biosynthesizes non gelling sulfated galactan fractions with diads constituted by β-d-galactose and partially cyclized α-l-galactose units or non-cyclized α-d-galactose residues. Sulfation was mainly detected on C6 or C4 of the β-d-galactose units, and on C6 and, in minor amounts, on C3 of the α-l-galactose units. The presence of β-apiuronic acid was demonstrated for these fractions as side chains of the galactan backbone. Carrageenan structures were found for the first time in an agarophyte of the Gracilariales.