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Molecules 2017, 22(2), 257; doi:10.3390/molecules22020257

β-Glucans: Relationships between Modification, Conformation and Functional Activities

1
Institute of Food Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
2
Cornell University, Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polysaccharides)
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Abstract

β-glucan is a type of polysaccharide which widely exists in bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants, and has been well known for its biological activities such as enhancing immunity, antitumor, antibacterial, antiviral, and wound healing activities. The conformation of β-glucan plays a crucial role on its biological activities. Therefore, β-glucans obtained from different sources, while sharing the same basic structures, often show different bioactivities. The basic structure and inter-molecular forces of polysaccharides can be changed by modification, which leads to the conformational transformation in solution that can directly affect bioactivity. In this review, we will first determine different ways to modify β-glucan molecules including physical methods, chemical methods, and biological methods, and then reveal the relationship of the flexible helix form of the molecule chain and the helix conformation to their bioactivities. Last, we summarize the scientific challenges to modifying β-glucan’s conformation and functional activity, and discuss its potential future development. View Full-Text
Keywords: β-glucans; modification; conformation transformation; functional activities β-glucans; modification; conformation transformation; functional activities
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, Q.; Sheng, X.; Shi, A.; Hu, H.; Yang, Y.; Liu, L.; Fei, L.; Liu, H. β-Glucans: Relationships between Modification, Conformation and Functional Activities
. Molecules 2017, 22, 257.

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