Structural Studies

Structural Study of Bergenan, a Pectin from Bergenia Crassifolia

V. V. Golovchenko1#, O. A. Bushneva1, R. G. Ovodova1, A. S. Shashkov2, A. O. Chizhov2 and Yu. S. Ovodov1

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1Institute of Physiology, Komi Research Center, Urals Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Pervomaiskaya 50, Syktyvkar, 167982, Russia;
2Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 47, Moscow, 119991, Russia

Received: May 5, 2006;  in final form: May 29, 2006

Abstract. A pectin polysaccharide named bergenan was isolated from the freshly collected leaves of the leather bergenia Bergenia crassifolia by extraction with an aqueous solution of ammonium oxalate. The main component of its carbohydrate chain was shown to be the residues of D-galacturonic acid (about 80%). In addition, the polysaccharide contains the residues of galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose; their total content is less than 15%. It was shown that the bergenan samples from bergenia leaves collected at different vegetation periods (from July to September) do not substantially differ either in monosaccharide composition or in the viscosity of their aqueous solutions. The results of enzymatic hydrolysis by α-1,4-galacturonase (pectinase), partial acidic hydrolysis, NMR spectroscopy, and methylation with subsequent analysis of the results by GC-MS indicate that the bergenan macromolecule contains the regions of a linear α-1,4-D-galactopyranosyluronan and rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I). Galacturonan responds for a greater part of the macromolecule. A considerable amount of its constitutent galacturonic acid residues are present as methyl esters. The side chains in RG-I are attached to the rhamnopyranose residues of the backbone by a 1,4-linkages and are composed of the residues of terminal arabinofuranose and galactopyranose, 1,5-linked α-arabinofuranose, and 1,4- and 1,6-linked β-galactopyranose. The branching points of the side chains of the RG-I molecule are 3,4- and 3,6-di-O-substituted galactose residues.

Key words: bergenanBergenia crassifolia, NMR spectroscopy, pectins, structure

Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 2007, 33 (1): 47-56