FIGURE 11.1 Two types of disaccharide repeating units of Ca-SP.
sugar composition is mainly composed of glucose, along with rhamnose, man-nose, xylose, galactose, and two unusual sugars: 2-O-mehtyl-L-rhamnose and 3-O-methyl-L-rhamnose (acofriose).31 (Figure 11.1). Nowadays the antiviral activity of Spirulina has been attributed to three groups of substances: sulfated polysaccharides, sulfoglycolipids, and a protein-bound pigment, the allophycocianin. It is interesting to emphasize that two of these groups of substances possess the sulfate moiety.
The sulfated polysaccharide named calcium spirulan (Ca-SP) isolated by bioassay-guide separation of the hot water extract from S. platensis, is a polymerized carbohydrate molecule unique to Spirulina containing both sulfur and calcium, which has a molecular weight of 250,000 to 300,000 Da.12 Detailed structural analyses of their oligosaccharide derivatives performed by electroscopy ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectroscopy, showed that Ca-SP is composed of two types of disaccharide repeating units, O-rhamnosyl-acofriose and O-hexuronosyl-rhamnose (aldobiuronic acid)32 (Figure 11.1). It was suggested that in the first disaccharide repeating unit the link is ^ 3)-a-L-Rha-(1 ^ 2)-a-L-Aco-(1 Until now, the link in aldobiuronic acid repeating unit is not clear. The sulfated groups were indicated to be substituted at the C-2 or C-4 position of 1,3-linked rhamnose, and at the C-4 position of acofriose. The sulfated units of ^3)-a-L-Rha-(1 ^ 2)-a-L-Aco-(1 ^ might be essential for the Ca-SP activity.32,33
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