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GRE subject Biochem

Discuss the feasibility of using methylation analysis to distinguish between each of the following pairs of carbohydrates:
A) Maltose and Trehalose
B) Maltose and Amylose
C) Amylose and Cellulose

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Methylation analysis is the classic approach to determine the linkage pattern in linked saccharides.

Essentially, there are four steps to the process:

1. methylation of free hydroxyl groups
2. hydrolysis to yield methylated monosaccharides
3. reduction to alditols
4. acetylation

All of this chemistry is followed up by analysis by GC or GC/MS.

What does this accomplish? Free hydroxyl groups on the sugar residues end up being methylated and the rest of the oxygens become acetylated.

You'll need to take a look at the structure of these di/polysaccharides to see this analysis make sense.


In maltose, you have a 1,4 linked disaccharide with two glucose residues. Therefore, the terminal (nonreducing) glucose will end up being 2,3,4,6-tetramethylated (with the 1 and 5 positions being acetylated). The 1 ...

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