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J Food Sci. 2013 Feb;78(2):C192-8. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12037. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Analysis of starch in food systems by high-performance size exclusion chromatography.

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Dept. of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State Univ., PO Box 6050, Dept# 7670, Fargo, ND 58108-6050, USA.


Starch has unique physicochemical characteristics among food carbohydrates. Starch contributes to the physicochemical attributes of food products made from roots, legumes, cereals, and fruits. It occurs naturally as distinct particles, called granules. Most starch granules are a mixture of 2 sugar polymers: a highly branched polysaccharide named amylopectin and a basically linear polysaccharide named amylose. The starch contained in food products undergoes changes during processing, which causes changes in the starch molecular weight and amylose to amylopectin ratio. The objective of this study was to develop a new, simple, 1-step, and accurate method for simultaneous determination of amylose and amylopectin ratio as well as weight-averaged molecular weights of starch in food products. Starch from bread flour, canned peas, corn flake cereal, snack crackers, canned kidney beans, pasta, potato chips, and white bread was extracted by dissolving in KOH, urea, and precipitation with ethanol. Starch samples were solubilized and analyzed on a high-performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC) system. To verify the identity of the peaks, fractions were collected and soluble starch and beta-glucan assays were performed additional to gas chromatography analysis. We found that all the fractions contain only glucose and soluble starch assay is correlated to the HPSEC fractionation. This new method can be used to determine amylose amylopectin ratio and weight-averaged molecular weight of starch from various food products using as low as 25 mg dry samples.

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