Academic article

Pectin isolated from white cabbage - structure and complement-fixing activity

Westereng, Bjørge; Yousif, Osman; Michaelsen, Terje Einar; Knutsen, Svein Halvor; Samuelsen, Anne Berit

Publication details

Journal: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, vol. 50, p. 746–755, 2006

Issue: 8

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 1613-4125
Electronic: 1613-4133

Open Access: none


This study was done to investigate whether white cabbage contained polysaccharides with immunostimulatory activity using the complement-fixing test as an indicator. The main polysaccharide isolated was of pectin nature. Methanolysis and (13)C-NMR showed that the polymers consisted of highly esterified alpha-galactopyranoside (alpha-GalpA), significant amounts of alpha-arabinose furanoside (alpha-Araf), beta-Galp and lesser amounts of rhamnose in the pyranose form (Rhap) and xylose in the pyranose form (Xylp). Linkage analyses showed that the alpha-GalpA residues were mainly 1,4-linked with small amounts of 1,3,4-linkages. The alpha-Araf residues were mainly terminally (t)- and 1,5-linked, whereas beta-Galp was t-, 1,3-, 1,6-, and 1,3,6-linked. Positive Yariv reaction indicated polymers with arabinogalactan type 2 like structures. alpha-Rhap was mainly present as 1,2- and 1,2,4-linked residues and Xylp was t- and 1,4-linked. The molecular weight varied greatly and was from 10 to 150 kDa. Cabbage polymers had biological activity and this complement-fixing activity was greatly affected by hydrolytic removal of Araf from pectic side chains.