Solvent-Free Sugar Anomers

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 12 January 2011
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Nature/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Solvent-Free Sugar Anomers

Sugar molecules adopt chemically unusual shapes due to the anomeric effect, a stereoelectronic effect that influences the three-dimensional shapes of many biological molecules. The effect is usually attributed to the presence and influence of water or other substances surrounding the molecule.

Ben Davis and co-workers, Oxford University, UK, have isolated the sugar, D-galactose, from other substances by turning it into a gas. Using laser spectroscopy, the team showed that the anomeric effect is inherent to sugars: A peptide and α- or β-anomers of the sugar formed complexes that were nearly identical structurally in the solvent-free environment.

The exo-anomeric effect was shown to dominate the endo-anomeric effect. This implies that the influence of C2 substituents plays a greater role in the shape of sugars than previous thought, as they can alter the endo/exo ratio.

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