, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 201–212

Carrageenans in the gametophytic and sporophytic stages of Chondrus crispus


  • E. L. McCandless
    • Department of BiologyMcMaster University
  • J. S. Craigie
    • Atlantic Regional LaboratoryNational Research Council of Canada
  • J. A. Walter
    • Atlantic Regional LaboratoryNational Research Council of Canada

DOI: 10.1007/BF00385324

Cite this article as:
McCandless, E.L., Craigie, J.S. & Walter, J.A. Planta (1973) 112: 201. doi:10.1007/BF00385324


The morphologically similar sporophytic and gametophytic plants of Chondrus crispus Stackhouse were examined and it was shown that the former contain λ-carrageenan. The gametophytes contain ϰ- and two additional carrageenans which are KCl-soluble and may comprise up to 25% of the total carrageenan. After alkaline modification, these KCl-soluble components were separated into a gel and a soluble carrageenan. The gel was indistinguishable from ϰ-carrageenan and presumably was derived from μ-carrageenan while the KCl-soluble fraction possessed a unique infrared spectrum easily distinguished from alkali-modified λ-carrageenan. This appears to represent a third carrageenan in the gametophytes.

Our observations suggest that the biologically separate plants of C. crispus exhibit distinctive patterns of sulfation of their galactans. The sporophytes add SO42- at C2 of the precursor, whereas the gametophytes appear to add it principally at the available C4 positions. Both types of plant are capable of sulfating at C6 of the 4-linked galactose unit.

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© Springer-Verlag 1973