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Concept: Starch


Various hydroxyethyl starch (HES) preparations have been used for decades to augment blood volume. There has been concern recently regarding possible adverse outcomes when using HES in the intensive care setting, especially in patients with septic shock. However, the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of HES preparations depend on their chemical composition and source material. Thus, different clinical conditions could result in differing effectiveness and safety for these preparations. Consequently, we assessed the safety of tetrastarches when used during surgery, using a formal search, that yielded 59 primary full publications of studies that met a priori inclusion criteria and randomly allocated 4529 patients with 2139 patients treated with tetrastarch compared with 2390 patients treated with a comparator. There were no indications that the use of tetrastarches during surgery induces adverse renal effects as assessed by change or absolute concentrations of serum creatinine or need for renal replacement therapy (39 trials, 3389 patients), increased blood loss (38 trials, 3280 patients), allogeneic erythrocyte transfusion (20 trials, 2151 patients; odds ratio for HES transfusion 0.73 [95% confidence interval = 0.61-0.87], P = 0.0005), or increased mortality (odds ratio for HES mortality = 0.51 [0.24-1.05], P = 0.079).

Concepts: Blood, Intensive care medicine, Renal physiology, Starch, Septic shock, Hypovolemia, Blood transfusion, 3rd millennium


Modulation of the malate content of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit by altering the expression of mitochondrially localized enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle resulted in enhanced transitory starch accumulation and subsequent effects on postharvest fruit physiology. In this study, we assessed whether such a manipulation would similarly affect starch biosynthesis in an organ that displays a linear, as opposed to a transient, kinetic of starch accumulation. For this purpose, we used RNA interference to down-regulate the expression of fumarase in potato (Solanum tuberosum) under the control of the tuber-specific B33 promoter. Despite displaying similar reductions in both fumarase activity and malate content as observed in tomato fruit expressing the same construct, the resultant transformants were neither characterized by an increased flux to, or accumulation of, starch, nor by alteration in yield parameters. Since the effect in tomato was mechanistically linked to derepression of the reaction catalyzed by ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, we evaluated whether the lack of effect on starch biosynthesis was due to differences in enzymatic properties of the enzyme from potato and tomato or rather due to differential subcellular compartmentation of reductant in the different organs. The results are discussed in the context both of current models of metabolic compartmentation and engineering.

Concepts: Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Starch, Tomato, Solanaceae, Solanum, Potato


BACKGROUND: During cellulosic ethanol production, cellulose hydrolysis is achieved by synergetic action of cellulase enzyme complex consisting of multiple enzymes with different mode of actions. Enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose is one of the bottlenecks in the commercialization of the process due to low hydrolysis rates and high cost of enzymes. A robust hydrolysis model that can predict hydrolysis profile under various scenarios can act as an important forecasting tool to improve the hydrolysis process. However, multiple factors affecting hydrolysis: cellulose structure and complex enzyme-substrate interactions during hydrolysis make it diffucult to develop mathematical kinetic models that can simulate hydrolysis in presence of multiple enzymes with high fidelity. In this study, a comprehensive hydrolysis model based on stochastic molecular modeling approch in which each hydrolysis event is translated into a discrete event is presented. The model captures the structural features of cellulose, enzyme properties (mode of actions, synergism, inhibition), and most importantly dynamic morphological changes in the substrate that directly affect the enzyme-substrate interactions during hydrolysis. RESULTS: Cellulose was modeled as a group of microfibrils consisting of elementary fibrils bundles, where each elementary fibril was represented as a three dimensional matrix of glucose molecules. Hydrolysis of cellulose was simulated based on Monte Carlo simulation technique. Cellulose hydrolysis results predicted by model simulations agree well with the experimental data from literature. Coefficients of determination for model predictions and experimental values were in the range of 0.75 to 0.96 for Avicel hydrolysis by CBH I action. Model was able to simulate the synergistic action of multiple enzymes during hydrolysis. The model simulations captured the important experimental observations: effect of structural properties, enzyme inhibition and enzyme loadings on the hydrolysis and degree of synergism among enzymes. CONCLUSIONS: The model was effective in capturing the dynamic behavior of cellulose hydrolysis during action of individual as well as multiple cellulases. Simulations were in qualitative and quantitative agreement with experimental data. Several experimentally observed phenomena were simulated without the need for any additional assumptions or parameter changes and confirmed the validity of using the stochastic molecular modeling approach to quantitatively and qualitatively describe the cellulose hydrolysis.

Concepts: Enzyme, Glucose, Starch, Simulation, Cellulose, Hydrolysis, Cellulosic ethanol, Cellulase


L-Arabinose is a useful sugar in the food industry. We demonstrate here simple methods for refining arabinan polysaccharides by alcohol extraction from prune, Prunus domestica L., as a source of L-arabinose. Alcohol-soluble polysaccharides were purified from a solution of prune extracted by 80% ethanol. After fractionating the polysaccharides by ion-exchange chromatography, arabinans were identified as mainly constituted by (1→5)-linked arabinofuranosyl units.

Concepts: Glucose, Food, Starch, Cellulose, Carbohydrate, Monosaccharide, Food industry, Plum


O-linked glycosylation is one of the most abundant post-translational modifications of proteins. Within the secretory pathway of higher eukaryotes, the core of these glycans is frequently an N-acetylgalactosamine residue that is α-linked to serine or threonine residues. Glycoside hydrolases in family 101 are presently the only known enzymes to be able to hydrolyze this glycosidic linkage. Here we determine the high-resolution structures of the catalytic domain comprising a fragment of GH101 from Streptococcus pneumoniae TIGR4, SpGH101, in the absence of carbohydrate, and in complex with reaction products, inhibitor, and substrate analogues. Upon substrate binding, a tryptophan lid (residues 724-WNW-726) closes on the substrate. The closing of this lid fully engages the substrate in the active site with D764 positioned directly beneath C1 of the sugar residue bound within the -1 subsite, consistent with its proposed role as the catalytic nucleophile. In all of the bound forms of the enzyme, however, the proposed catalytic acid/base residue was found to be too distant from the glycosidic oxygen (>4.3 Å) to serve directly as a general catalytic acid/base residue and thereby facilitate cleavage of the glycosidic bond. These same complexes, however, revealed a structurally conserved water molecule positioned between the catalytic acid/base and the glycosidic oxygen. On the basis of these structural observations we propose a new variation of the retaining glycoside hydrolase mechanism wherein the intervening water molecule enables a Grotthuss proton shuttle between E796 and the glycosidic oxygen, permitting this residue to serve as the general acid/base catalytic residue.

Concepts: Enzyme, Starch, Polysaccharide, Cellulose, Glycosylation, Carbohydrate chemistry, Glycoside, Carbohydrates


Currently, there is a search for substances that would be very well tolerated by an organism and which could contribute to the activation of the growth of Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria strains, with simultaneous inhibition of the growth of Firmicutes. High expectations in this regard are raised with the use of fiber preparations from starch - resistant corn dextrins, branched dextrins, resistant maltodextrins and soluble corn fiber. In this paper, the influence of fiber preparations made from corn starch was evaluated on growth and activity of Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes strains isolated from obese children. It was demonstrated that in the stool of obese children Firmicutes strains predominate, while Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria strains were in the minority. A supplementation of fecal culture with fiber preparations did not cause any significant changes in the number of strains of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Addition of fiber preparations to the fecal samples of obese children increased the amount of short-chain fatty acids, especially acetic (p < 0.01), propionic, butyric (p = 0.05) and lactic acid (p < 0.01).

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Starch, Carboxylic acid, Maize, Butyric acid, Cornstarch


Starch is the main storage carbohydrate in higher plants. Although several enzymes and regulators for starch biosynthesis have been characterized, a complete regulatory network for starch synthesis in cereal seeds remains elusive. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the rice Brittle1 (OsBT1) gene, which is expressed specifically in the developing endosperm. The osbt1 mutant showed a white-core endosperm and a significantly lower grain weight than the wild-type. The formation and development of compound starch granules in osbt1 was obviously defective: the amyloplast was disintegrated at early developmental stages and the starch granules were disperse and not compound in the endosperm cells in the centre region of osbt1 seeds. The total starch content and amylose content was decreased and the physicochemical properties of starch were altered. Moreover, the degree of polymerization (DP) of amylopectin in osbt1 was remarkably different from that of wild-type. Map-based cloning of OsBT1 indicated that it encodes a putatively ADP-glucose transporter. OsBT1 coded protein localizes in the amyloplast envelope membrane. Furthermore, the expression of starch synthesis related genes was also altered in the osbt1 mutant. These findings indicate that OsBT1 plays an important role in starch synthesis and the formation of compound starch granules.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Plant, Starch, Cereal, Seed, Rice, Amylose


Lipases are promising enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol ester bonds at the oil/water interface. Apart from allowing biocatalyst reuse, immobilization can also affect enzyme structure consequently influencing its activity, selectivity, and stability. The lipase from Penicillium sp. section Gracilenta (CBMAI 1583) was successfully immobilized on supports bearing butyl, phenyl, octyl, octadecyl, and divinylbenzyl hydrophobic moieties wherein lipases were adsorbed through the highly hydrophobic opened active site. The highest activity in aqueous medium was observed for the enzyme adsorbed on octyl support, with a 150% hyperactivation regarding the soluble enzyme activity, and the highest adsorption strength was verified with the most hydrophobic support (octadecyl Sepabeads), requiring 5% Triton X-100 to desorb the enzyme from the support. Most of the derivatives presented improved properties such as higher stability to pH, temperature, and organic solvents than the covalently immobilized CNBr derivative (prepared under very mild experimental conditions and thus a reference mimicking free-enzyme behavior). A 30.8- and 46.3-fold thermostabilization was achieved in aqueous medium, respectively, by the octyl Sepharose and Toyopearl butyl derivatives at 60 °C, in relation to the CNBr derivative. The octyl- and phenyl-agarose derivatives retained 50% activity after four and seven cycles of p-nitrophenyl palmitate hydrolysis, respectively. Different derivatives exhibited different properties regarding their properties for fish oil hydrolysis in aqueous medium and ethanolysis in anhydrous medium. The most active derivative in ethanolysis of fish oil was the enzyme adsorbed on a surface covered by divinylbenzyl moieties and it was 50-fold more active than the enzyme adsorbed on octadecyl support. Despite having identical mechanisms of immobilization, different hydrophobic supports seem to promote different shapes of the adsorbed open active site of the lipase and hence different functional properties.

Concepts: Enzyme, Catalysis, Starch, Adsorption, PH, Lipase, Enzymes, Immobilized enzyme


The health benefits of dietary fiber have long been appreciated. Higher intakes of dietary fiber are linked to less cardiovascular disease and fiber plays a role in gut health, with many effective laxatives actually isolated fiber sources. Higher intakes of fiber are linked to lower body weights. Only polysaccharides were included in dietary fiber originally, but more recent definitions have included oligosaccharides as dietary fiber, not based on their chemical measurement as dietary fiber by the accepted total dietary fiber (TDF) method, but on their physiological effects. Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides, and other oligosaccharides are included as fiber in food labels in the US. Additionally, oligosaccharides are the best known “prebiotics”, “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-bring and health.” To date, all known and suspected prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds, primarily oligosaccharides, known to resist digestion in the human small intestine and reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut microflora. Studies have provided evidence that inulin and oligofructose (OF), lactulose, and resistant starch (RS) meet all aspects of the definition, including the stimulation of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial bacterial genus. Other isolated carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods, including galactooligosaccharides (GOS), transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS), polydextrose, wheat dextrin, acacia gum, psyllium, banana, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn also have prebiotic effects.

Concepts: Gut flora, Nutrition, Starch, Carbohydrate, Dietary fiber, Whole grain, Fructooligosaccharide, Prebiotic


Amylases are used in various industrial processes and a key requirement for the efficiency of these processes is the use of enzymes with high catalytic activity at ambient temperature. Unfortunately, most amylases isolated from bacteria and filamentous fungi have optimal activity above 45 °C and low pH. For example, the most commonly used industrial glucoamylases, a type of amylase that degrades starch to glucose, are produced by Aspergillus strains displaying optimal activities at 45-60 °C. Thus, isolating new amylases with optimal activity at ambient temperature is essential for improving industrial processes. In this report, a glucoamylase secreted by the cold-adapted yeast Tetracladium sp. was isolated and biochemically characterized.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Enzyme, Fungus, Yeast, Starch, Amylase, Maltose