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Received February 8, 2015; Revision received February 27, 2015
Rhamnogalacturonans I are complex pectin polysaccharides extremely variable in structure and properties and widely represented in various sources. The complexity and diversity of the structure of rhamnogalacturonans I are the reasons for the limited information about the properties and supramolecular organization of these polysaccharides, including the relationship between these parameters and the functions of rhamnogalacturonans I in plant cells. In the present work, on the example of rhamnogalacturonan I from flax gelatinous fibers, the ability of this type of pectic polysaccharides to form at physiological concentrations hydrogels with hyperelastic properties was revealed for the first time. According to IR spectroscopy, water molecules are more tightly retained in the gelling rhamnogalacturonan I from flax fiber cell wall in comparison with the non-gelling rhamnogalacturonan I from primary cell wall of potato. With increase in strength of water binding by rhamnogalacturonan I, there is an increase in elastic modulus and decrease in Poisson’s ratio of gel formed by this polysaccharide. The model of hyperelastic rhamnogalacturonan I capture by laterally interacting cellulose microfibrils, constructed using the finite element method, confirmed the suitability of rhamnogalacturonan I gel with the established properties for the function in the gelatinous cell wall, allowing consideration of this tissue- and stage-specific pectic polysaccharide as an important factor in creation of gelatinous fiber contractility.
KEY WORDS: gelatinous fibers, polysaccharides, rhamnogalacturonan I, water sorption, gel, elastoplastic properties