Macromolecular conformation of chitosan in dilute solution: A new global hydrodynamic approach

Gordon A. Morris, Jonathan Castile, Alan Smith, Gary G. Adams, Stephen E. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Chitosans of different molar masses were prepared by storing freshly prepared samples for up to 6 months at either 4, 25 or 40 °C. The weight-average molar masses, Mw and intrinsic viscosities, [η] were then measured using size exclusion chromatography coupled to multi-angle laser light scattering (SEC-MALLS) and a "rolling ball" viscometer, respectively. The solution conformation of chitosan was then estimated from:(a)the Mark-Houwink-Kuhn-Sakurada (MHKS) power law relationship [η] = kMw a and(b)the persistence length, Lp calculated from a new approach based on equivalent radii [Ortega, A., & Garcia de la Torre, J. (2007). Equivalent radii and ratios of radii from solution properties as indicators of macromolecular conformation, shape, and flexibility. Biomacromolecules, 8, 2464-2475]. Both the MHKS power law exponent (a = 0.95 ± 0.01) and the persistence length (Lp = 16 ± 2 nm) are consistent with a semi-flexible rod type (or stiff coil) conformation for all 33 chitosans studied. A semi-flexible rod conformation was further supported by the Wales-van Holde ratio, the translational frictional ratio and sedimentation conformation zoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-621
Number of pages6
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Issue number4
Early online date27 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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