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Open AccessReview

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

Institute of Food Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
Cornell University, Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2017, 22(2), 257;
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polysaccharides)
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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MDPI and ACS Style

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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