* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received April 28, 2007; Revision received June 18, 2007
The dynamics of changes in spectra of oligosaccharide fragments formed during enzymatic degradation of plant pectins at low enzyme/substrate ratio was studied. It is shown that degradation of deesterified pectin molecules is a discrete and determined process manifested in establishment of a stable polysaccharide spectrum. It is noted that introduction of chemical modifications into the polysaccharide substrate structure preserves the discreteness of the polymer molecule fragmentation but changes the spectrum of formed oligosaccharide fragments. It is supposed that degradation is defined by the spatial (three-dimensional) organization of the polysaccharide molecule.
KEY WORDS: plant polysaccharides, pectin, oligosaccharides, enzymatic degradation, pectinase