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J Gen Microbiol. 1992 Dec;138(12):2531-7.

Structural studies of an emulsion-stabilizing exopolysaccharide produced by an adhesive, hydrophobic Rhodococcus strain.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Immune Biology, Freiburg, Germany.


The primary structure of an emulsion-stabilizing exopolysaccharide from the adhesive, hydrophobic Rhodococcus strain No. 33 was elucidated by NMR spectroscopy, methylation analyses, periodate oxidation and oligosaccharide analyses. The polysaccharide PS-33 consisted of rhamnose, galactose, glucose and glucuronic acid in molar ratios of 2:1:1:1. The main chain contained 3-substituted alpha-D-glucuronic acid linked to the 3-position at alpha-L-rhamnose, in addition to 3-substituted residues of beta-D-galactose and alpha-D-glucose. The alpha-L-rhamnose of the side chain was linked to position 4 of the galactose. In addition, the polysaccharide was O-acetylated, corresponding to one acetyl group per repeating unit. From the results two structural possibilities could be suggested. As the polysaccharide carries hydrophobic groups (methyl of rhamnose/O-acetyl), it is very likely that these are of general significance for the emulsifying activity of polysaccharides. It also seems to be possible that this polysaccharide is at least partially responsible for the hydrophobic cell surface properties of the Rhodococcus strain No. 33 and it may be involved in hydrophobic interactions when adhering to hydrophobic interfaces.

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