Paper accepted: “Fast insights into chitosan-cleaving enzymes by simultaneous analysis of polymers and oligomers through size exclusion chromatography”

Today, one of Margareta Hellmann’s manuscripts has finally been accepted for publication in the renowned journal “Scientific Reports”. During her doctoral research, Margareta, supported by Dr. Stefan Cord-Landwehr, has – among other things – developed a number of new, and improved a number of existing methods for the structural analysis of partially acetylated chitosans. Among these is a chromatographic method for the simultaneous characterization of chitosan oligomers and chitosan polymers. So far, we (and others) determined the degree of polymerization of chitosan polymers using relatively fast and sensitive HP-SEC-RI-MALLS but in this method, oligomers are not visible. We analyze chitosan oligomers using much faster and more sensitive UP-HILIC-MS but in this method, polymers are not visible. Margareta and Stefan now developed a fast and sensitive UP-SEC-RI-MS method which combines analysis of polymers and oligomers. And in addition, this method gives not only the degree of polymerization, but simultaneously the fraction of acetylation of the oligomers (and – cum grano salis – also their pattern of acetylation). We need a lot less material than previously and our analyses are a lot faster than before. This allowed Margareta to use this technique for the online-analysis of the progress of an enzymatic chitosan hydrolysis by performing the reaction in the small MS-vial, injecting an aliquot into the UP-SEC system every few minutes. With a single measurement, we can find out how quickly the polymer is being digested, at which sites it is being cleaved, which products are transiently generated and which oligomers are eventually produced. Getting this much information would take weeks without this method! Look forward to find out what Margareta has learned when using this method, e.g. on human chitosan degrading enzymes!