, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 201-212

Carrageenans in the gametophytic and sporophytic stages of Chondrus crispus

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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 SO4 2- 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.

Issued as NRC No. 13119.