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J Food Sci. 2017 Oct;82(10):2487-2494. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13919. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Hypoglycemic Effect of Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita rhizoma) Polysaccharide in Different Structure and Molecular Weight.

Li Q1,2, Li W1,3, Gao Q1, Zou Y2.

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Carbohydrate Lab, School of Food Science and Engineering, South China Univ. of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, P.R. China.
Sericultural & Agri-Food Research Inst. Guangdong Acad. of Agricultural Sciences, Guangzhou 510610, P.R. China.
Infinitus (China) Company Ltd, Jiangmen, Guangdong 529156, P.R. China.


Three new Chinese yam polysaccharides (namely HSY, huaishanyao in Chinese) were isolated using the methods of boiled water extraction and stepwise ethanolic precipitation, combined with the tangential flow ultrafiltration membrane system. Their molecular weights were determined by high performance gel permeation chromatography. Three type yam polysaccharides in different molecular weight were isolated: HSY-I (>50 kDa), HSY-II (10 to 50 kDa), HSY-III (<10 kDa). The monosaccharide and glycosidic bond links composition were analyzed with GC and Smith degradation. The structure characteristics were further discussed combined with infrared spectrophotometry. Dexamethasone-induced insulin resistance glucose/lipid metabolism diabetic mice model was established to evaluate the hypoglycemic effect of different concentration of HSY and different molecular weights polysaccharide HSY-I, HSY-II, and HSY-III. The results indicated that the HSY polysaccharide mixture, HSY-I and HSY-II had hypoglycemic effect.


Three polysaccharides from Chinese yam tuber were isolated in this study. Their structures were characterized and hypoglycemic effects were evaluated. The result clearly identified the benefits of this plant as a healthy functional food.


Chinese yam; hypoglycemic effect; polysaccharides; structural characteristics

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