Supergiant ampholytic sugar chains with imbalanced charge ratio form saline ultra-absorbent hydrogels

Maiko K. Okajima, Takeshi Bamba, Yasuhiro Kaneso, Kazumasa Hirata, Eiichiro Fukusaki, Shin'Ichiro Kajiyama, Tatsuo Kaneko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


A novel sugar chain (SC) with an ultrahigh molecular weight and an imbalanced charge ratio was extracted from the jellylike extracellular matrix (ECM) of a freshwater unicellular cyanobacterium, Aphanothece Sacrum. Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectroscopy (FT-ICR-MS) analyses of the extracted SC demonstrated the presence sulfated muramic acid as a chain constituent, which indicates that the SC, was novel. These sugar chains, named sacran, was observed to be an extremely high molecular weight polysaccharide composed of a high content of anionic sugars with a low content of cationic sugars. Sacran were soluble in hot water to give a homogeneous solution regardless of pH and formed a physical hydrogel after cooling. Atomic force microscopy of sacran revealed that the sacran gels formed network structures containing nanolooped chains which exhibited a salt-induced transformation into extended rodlike chains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4061-4064
Number of pages4
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 24 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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