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Polysaccharides have a spectacular range of properties. These properties stem from the relationships between the chemical nature of the sugars within the polysaccharide, their arrangement within the polymer and the arrangement of the polymer itself. Polysaccharides appear in every corner of the natural world and have multiple applications ranging from protection to energy storage.

Not surprisingly humanity has taken advantage of their diversity and by doing so created a huge variety of uses within the medicinal, material and consumable sectors, as shown by the wealth of scientific literature available.

In this section we invite you to take a brief look at what could one day be possible if a system to design and build bespoke polysaccharides existed.

“It is not what we believe to be impossible that holds us back, but merely the limit to our imagination.”

Alex Clowsley, 2012.

There are endless possibilities in how polysaccharides could be used to help achieve new and exciting applications. These are some of the reasons why we believe our project could make a fundamental difference in not only the world of synthetic biology but science as a whole.

The building blocks to push science a step further begins here.

[1] M. Wisniewska et al: Biological properties of Chitosan degradation products: Polish Chitin Society: Monograph XII:149-156:2007.

[2] M. Kucharska et al: Potential use of Chitosan – based material in medicine: Polish Chitin Society: Vol. XV: 169-175:2010.

[3] W. Comper et al: Physiological function of connective tissue polysaccharides: Physiol Rev: Vol. 58: 255-315:1978.

[4] A.Furth: Lipids and Polysaccharides in Biology: Issue 125 of Studies of Biology: ISBN 0713128054.

[5] P. Dutta et al: Chitin and Chitosan: Chemistry, properties and applications: J. Scientific & Ind Res: Vol.63: 20-31:2004.

[6] G. Crini: Recent developments in polysaccharide-based materials used as adsorbents in wastewater treatment: Prog. Polym. Sci: Vol. 30: 38-70: 2005.

[7] K. Walters,Jr. et al: A nonprotein thermal hysteresis-producing Xylomannan antifreeze in the freeze-tolerant Alaskan beetle Upis ceramboides: PNAS: Vol.106 No.48: 20210-20215: 2009.

[8] M. Volpe et al: Polysaccharides as biopolymers for food shelf-life extension: recent patents: Recent Pat. Nutr. Agric: Vol. 2: 129-139: 2010.

[9] L. Alonso et al: Use of β-cyclodextrin to decrease the level of cholesterol in milk fat: J. Dairy Sci: Vol. 92: 863-869: 2009.

[10] T. Aida et al: Functional Supramolecular Polymers: Science: Vol. 335: 813-817: 2012.

†. BBa_K764022

††. BBa_K764023

{i}. You can watch her talk on the TED website

{ii}. Newcastle 2010 iGEM team.