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Research article2011Peer reviewed

Application of diffusion-edited NMR spectroscopy for selective suppression of water signal in the determination of monomer composition in alginates

Morssing Vilén Eric, Klinger Markus, Sandström Corine


Alginate is a linear copolymer of 1-4 linked β-d-mannuronic acid (M) and 1-4 linked α-l-guluronic acid (G). The physical properties of these polysaccharides such as gel properties and viscosity are largely correlated to the monomer composition (M/G ratio), the sequence of the polymer and the molecular weight. Determination of the M/G ratio is therefore important and NMR spectroscopy is among the most common methods used to accurately obtain this ratio. Instead of using time consuming, possibly sample altering, acid hydrolysis to reduce the viscosity of the alginate sample prior to analysis, samples of low concentrations can be used. However, this results in a water peak in the NMR spectrum that is several orders of magnitude larger than the alginate signals and water suppression is required. In this article, a diffusion-edited NMR experiment that suppresses the water peak while retaining the signals of interest has been used to enable correct M/G ratio determination. This approach exploits the difference in translational diffusion between the larger alginate molecules and the smaller water molecules. Using this method, the monomer composition of 20 different alginate powders was determined. The diffusion parameters were optimized to allow measurement for samples covering a large range of M/G ratios and viscosities. Thus, such method should be useful for analyzing large numbers of unknown alginate samples using, for example, automation procedures


NMR; 1H; alginate; BPP-LED; diffusion; M/G ratio; water suppression

Published in

Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry
2011, Volume: 49, number: 9, pages: 584–591
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons