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Carbohydr Res. 1991 Apr 2;211(1):17-23.

Determination of the degree of N-acetylation and the distribution of N-acetyl groups in partially N-deacetylated chitins (chitosans) by high-field n.m.r. spectroscopy.

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Norwegian Biopolymer Laboratory (NOBIPOL), Division of Biotechnology, Norwegian Institute of Technology, University of Trondheim.


The composition and sequence of 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-beta-D-glucose (GlcNAc) and 2-amino-2-deoxy-beta-D-glucose (GlcN) residues in partially N-deacetylated chitosans, prepared under homogeneous and heterogeneous conditions, have been determined by 1H-n.m.r. spectroscopy. It was necessary to depolymerise the chitosan slightly by treatment with nitrous acid before spectroscopy. A sequence-dependent deshielding of H-1 of the GlcNAc residues made it possible to determine the proportions of the four possible diads. Chitosan prepared by N-deacetylation under homogeneous conditions gave values for the diad frequencies that were roughly consistent with a random distribution of the N-acetyl groups. Samples prepared under heterogeneous conditions have a frequency of the GlcNAc-GlcNAc diad slightly higher than for a random (Bernoullian) distribution. The chitosans, prepared under both homogeneous and heterogeneous conditions, with a degree of acetylation of 50% were soluble at neutral pH.

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