Synthetic receptor for polysaccharides reported in Nature Chemistry
24 November 2015
A molecule which can thread onto polysaccharides has been designed and synthesised by the Tony Davis group.
Polysaccharides such as cellulose are extremely plentiful, and potentially valuable as renewable resources. However, they tend to be highly insoluble, which hampers their exploitation. Receptors which bind to the polysaccharide molecules might be able to hold them in solution, where they could be modified or degraded more readily. Researchers in the School of Chemistry have now reported the first synthetic receptor which can thread onto a polysaccharide chain. This arrangement allows many receptor molecules to bind to the cellulose, surrounding it with water-solubilising groups. Dissolving cellulose is a further challenge, but this is a promising first step.