Acetylated polysaccharides: Synthesis, physicochemical properties, bioactivities, and food applications

Xin Wang, Zhijun Wang, Mingyue Shen, Chen Yi, Qiang Yu, Xianxiang Chen, Jianhua Xie*, Mingyong Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Polysaccharides are biomacromolecular widely applied in the food industry, as gelling agents, thickeners and health supplements. As hydrophobic groups, acetyls provide amphiphilicity to polysaccharides with numerous hydroxyl groups, which greatly expand the presence of polysaccharides in organic organisms and various chemical environments. Acetylation could result in diverseness and promotion of the structure of polysaccharides, which improve the physicochemical properties and biological activities. High efficient and environmentally friendly access to acetylated derivatives of different polysaccharides is being explored. This review discusses and summarizes acetylated polysaccharides in terms of synthetic methods, physicochemical properties and biological activities and emphasizes the structure-effect relationships introduced by acetyl groups to reveal the potential mechanism of acetylated polysaccharides. Acetyls with different contents and substitution sites could change the molecular weight, monosaccharide composition and spatial architecture of polysaccharides, resulting in differences among properties such as water solubility, emulsification and crystallinity. Coupled with acetyls, polysaccharides have increased antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antitumor, and pro-prebiotic capacities. In addition, their possible applications have also been discussed in green food materials, bioactive ingredient carriers and functional food products, indicating that acetylated polysaccharides hold a clear vision in food health and industrial development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4849-4864
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number15
Early online date16 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Acetylated polysaccharide
  • application
  • bioactivity
  • modification
  • property


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