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Chemical Structure

Chemical Structure

Alginic acid, a polysaccharide is composed of two types of Uronic acid:
Mannuronic acid unit (M) and Guluronic acid unit (G), which from three kinds of polymer segments of blocks:

Fig Chemical Structure

M blocks : comprised only of M-M bonding,

M Blocks

G blocks : comprised only of G-G bonding,

G Blocks

M&G random blocks : comprised of M-G random bonding,

M&G Blocks

Differences in M/G ratio and block configuration account for the differences in alginate properties and functionality, especially in gelling capability and gel strength. The M/G ratio is dependent upon such factors as the species of seaweed, the part of the seaweed used, the harvest location, and the harvest season.

gelling capability and gel strength

The carboxyl groups within the M and G units are easily ion-exchanged, and can react with several kinds of cations. This results in changes in alginate properties and functionality.
Utilizing these chemical reactions and the resultant changes in functionality, alginates have many commercial applications such as a thickening agent, as a gelling agent, a dispersion stabilizer, a texturizer and as a filament or film former.

Algin solubility