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Letters to Nature
Nature 322, 89 - 90 (03 July 1986); doi:10.1038/322089a0

Intermolecular binding of xanthan gum and carob gum

P. Cairns, M. J. Miles & V. J. Morris

AFRC Institute of Food Research, Norwich Laboratory, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UA, UK

Gels are a representative state for polysaccharides in both natural and artificial systems. The nature of the inter-chain associations within the junction zones is important and models for such interactions between like polysaccharides are based on X-ray diffraction studies of oriented gels. Here we describe the extension of such studies to a binary gel (xanthan-carob) in order to characterize for the first time intermolecular binding between different polysaccharides. Xanthan-carob binding has been proposed to explain gelation of the mixtures and as a model for host-pathogen recognition and adhesion of Xanthomonas bacteria within plant vascular systems. Our data suggest that the established model1–7 is incorrect and point to an alternative association mechanism.

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