Leivers, Shaun (2011) Characterisation of Bacterial Exopolysaccharides. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In this project, the structures of exopolysaccharides (EPS) produced by bacterial strains were characterised. The current techniques utilised for structural elucidation were also investigated.

The structure of the novel EPS isolated from the fermentation of the lactic acid bacteria(LAB) strain, Lactobacillus helveticus Rosyjski, has been characterised. The strain of LAB was grown on skimmed milk supplemented with glucose; the subsequent EPS produced was isolated using established protocols. The 1H NMR spectrum identified the presence of five anomeric monosaccharide signals corresponding to the existence of a pentasaccharide repeating unit oligosaccharide. HP-SEC-MALLS analysis revealed the EPS has a weight average molecular weight of less than 1.4 x106 g mol-1. A combination of GC-MS and HPAEC-PAD analysis confirmed that the structure was composed of D-glucose, D-galactose
and D-N-acetyl mannosamine in a molar ratio of 2:2:1. Linkage analysis of the EPS, by GCMS
and 2D-NMR experiments showed that the repeating unit contains two terminal, one dilinked and two tri-linked monosaccharides. All of the data obtained allowed for the elucidation of the structure of the EPS produced by Lactobacillus helveticus Rosyjski.

The current techniques used for the determination of the monomers and linkages present in EPS structures were investigated. Monomer analysis was studied by using the previously characterised EPS, Lactobacillus acidophilus 5e2 as a model. A variety of acids were used to catalyse the hydrolysis of the polysaccharide. The monosaccharides liberated from the EPS were analysed by HPAEC-PAD. It was determined that hydrolysis with TFA was the simplest technique to employ whilst also providing reliable results. Linkage analysis was investigated by the production of a number of disaccharide-derived model linkage standard compounds. This resulted in the creation of a number of terminally and di-linked linkage standards which can be used as model reference compounds when characterising
previously unidentified EPS.

The bacterial strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis A1dOxR produces EPS. Initial inspection of the 1H NMR spectrum however displayed a complex anomeric region with many overlapping signals. Analysis by HP-SEC-MALLS revealed multiple peaks, further adding to the evidence of the presence of more than one EPS in the recovered ‘crude’ sample. The crude sample was subjected to dialysis and a fraction (over 100,000 Da) was recovered and denoted as high molecular weight (HMW) EPS. Examination of the 1H NMR spectrum from HMW EPS indicated a hexasaccharide repeating unit oligosaccharide, whilst HPEAC-PAD and GC-MS analysis confirmed that the structure was composed of Lrhamnose, D-galactose and D-glucose in a molar ratio of 3:2:1. Further analysis determined that one of the galactose monosaccharides was present in the furanose form as appose to the more commonly observed pyranose configuration. Linkage analysis of the EPS, by GCMS and 2D-NMR experiments, showed that the repeating unit contains one terminal, four dilinked and one tri-linked monosaccharide. All of the data obtained allowed for the elucidation of the structure of the HMW EPS from by Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis A1dOxR.

Solubilising EPSs has been a constant challenge, however, it was hoped with the advent of ionic liquids (IL) this issue could be solved. Ultimately, dissolution of EPS in ionic liquids though proved to be unsuccessful, so attention was turned to combining derivatisation and dissolution, as a method for solubilising polysaccharides. Derivatisation of a number of model systems of di- and polysaccharides were explored. By studying both 1D- and 2D-NMR coupled with GC-MS analysis it has demonstrated that polysaccharides such as cellulose along with a number of common disaccharides can be successfully dissolved and modified in ionic liquids.

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