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Open AccessArticle

Isolation and Biophysical Characterisation of Bioactive Polysaccharides from Cucurbita Moschata (Butternut Squash)

Queen’s Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Clifton Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
Solar and Photovoltaics Engineering Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Makkah 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Tabuk, P.O. Box 741, Tabuk 71491, Saudi Arabia
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bayburt University, 69000 Bayburt, Turkey
Department of Food Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Architecture, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Gölköy, 14300 Bolu, Turkey
National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics (NCMH), School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Section Pharmacognosy, University of Oslo, PB 1068, Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1650;
Received: 19 June 2020 / Revised: 15 July 2020 / Accepted: 22 July 2020 / Published: 24 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polysaccharides and Polymers)
Cucurbits are plants that have been used frequently as functional foods. This study includes the extraction, isolation, and characterisation of the mesocarp polysaccharide of Cucurbita moschata. The polysaccharide component was purified by gel filtration into three fractions (NJBTF1, NJBTF2, and NJBTF3) of different molecular weights. Characterisation includes the hydrodynamic properties, identification of monosaccharide composition, and bioactivity. Sedimentation velocity also indicated the presence of small amounts of additional discrete higher molecular weight components even after fractionation. Sedimentation equilibrium revealed respective weight average molecular weights of 90, 31, and 19 kDa, with the higher fractions (NJBTF1 and NJBTF2) indicating a tendency to self-associate. Based on the limited amount of data (combinations of 3 sets of viscosity and sedimentation data corresponding to the 3 fractions), HYDFIT indicates an extended, semi-flexible coil conformation. Of all the fractions obtained, NJBTF1 showed the highest bioactivity. All fractions contained galacturonic acid and variable amounts of neutral sugars. To probe further, the extent of glycosidic linkages in NJBTF1 was estimated using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GCMS), yielding a high galacturonic acid content (for pectin polysaccharide) and the presence of fructans—the first evidence of fructans (levan) in the mesocarp. Our understanding of the size and structural flexibility together with the high bioactivity suggests that the polysaccharide obtained from C. moschata has the potential to be developed into a therapeutic agent. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cucurbita moschata; GCMS; levan; pectin; bioactivity; hydrodynamics Cucurbita moschata; GCMS; levan; pectin; bioactivity; hydrodynamics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jiwani, S.I.; Gillis, R.B.; Besong, D.; Almutairi, F.; Erten, T.; Kök, M.S.; Harding, S.E.; Paulsen, B.S.; Adams, G.G. Isolation and Biophysical Characterisation of Bioactive Polysaccharides from Cucurbita Moschata (Butternut Squash). Polymers 2020, 12, 1650.

AMA Style

Jiwani SI, Gillis RB, Besong D, Almutairi F, Erten T, Kök MS, Harding SE, Paulsen BS, Adams GG. Isolation and Biophysical Characterisation of Bioactive Polysaccharides from Cucurbita Moschata (Butternut Squash). Polymers. 2020; 12(8):1650.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jiwani, Shahwar I.; Gillis, Richard B.; Besong, David; Almutairi, Fahad; Erten, Tayyibe; Kök, M. S.; Harding, Stephen E.; Paulsen, Berit S.; Adams, Gary G. 2020. "Isolation and Biophysical Characterisation of Bioactive Polysaccharides from Cucurbita Moschata (Butternut Squash)" Polymers 12, no. 8: 1650.

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