Recently, various branched arabino-oligosaccharides as present in a sugar beet arabinan digest were characterized using NMR. Although HPAEC often has been the method of choice to monitor the enzymatic degradation reactions of polysaccharides, it was shown that HPAEC was incapable to separate all known linear and branched arabino-oligosaccharides present. As this lack of resolution might result in an incorrect interpretation of the results, other separation techniques were explored for the separation of linear and branched arabino-oligosaccharides. The use of porous-graphitized carbon liquid chromatography with evaporative light scattering and mass detection as well as capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence and mass detection demonstrated the superiority of both the techniques toward HPAEC by enabling the separation and unambiguous identification of almost all the linear and branched arabino-oligosaccharides available. The elution behavior of all arabino-oligosaccharides for the three tested separation techniques was correlated with their chemical structures and conclusions were drawn for the retention mechanisms of the arabino-oligosaccharides on the different chromatographic and electrophoretic systems. The combination of the elution/migration behavior on LC/CE and the MS fragmentation patterns of the arabino-oligosaccharides led to the prediction of structures for new DP6 arabino-oligosaccharides in complex enzyme digests.
- anion-exchange chromatography