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By Ian W. Sutherland

This quantity offers a radical account of the constitution and synthesis of microbial exopolysaccharides and in their frequent program throughout a vast variety of industries, together with nutrients, oil and medication. The winning exploitation of those polysaccharides calls for a valid medical realizing in their chemical and actual homes and in addition their biochemistry and biosynthesis.

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The majority of sugar nucleotides can be seen to be nucleoside diphosphate sugars, but one important nucleoside monophosphate sugar is involved in exopolysaccharide synthesis: CMP-sialic acid. Another CMP-nucleotide, CMP-ketodeoxyoctonic acid, plays an important role in the biosynthesis of cell-wall lipopolysaccharides in Gramnegative bacteria. It is presumably also the precursor for KDO-containing exopolysaccharides, including those which have recently been found in several Escherichia coli serotypes.

It is composed of maltotriosyl repeat units linked 1,6-a to form a polymer of relative molecular mass 10 5 -10 6 . Very similar products are formed by other fungal species, including Tremella mesenterica and Cyttaria harioti. The structure of pullulan (Fig. 3) resembles that of elsinan, in that each represents a homopolysaccharide with a regular repeat unit (maltotriose). In both polysaccharides, there are small numbers of maltotetraose units in place of the trisaccharides. The distribution of the maltotetraose units in pullulan appears to be irregular, but it is a linear polymer, lacking any side-chains.

MD oligosaccharides TT exopolysacchande II exopolysaccharide I Fig. 1. Routes of anabolism of glucose in Gram-negative bacteria. monosaccharides. These are mainly nucleoside ^//phosphate sugars, but a small number of nucleoside monophosphate sugars also function in this role. These sugar nucleotides function in the synthesis of virtually all carbohydrate-containing polymers found outside the microbial cell membrane. Thus, in bacteria, they are also needed for the synthesis of wall polymers and, in many species, for the production of membrane-derived oligosaccharides (MDO) found mainly in the periplasm of Gram-negative species.

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