Date of Award

Fall 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemistry & Biochemistry



Committee Director

Roy L. Williams

Committee Director

Gary F. Clark

Committee Member

Laura K. Moen

Committee Member

Charles E. Bell

Committee Member

Mark S. Elliot

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C45P38


Fucoidan is a polysaccharide commonly found in brown algae. It is a sulfated polymer of the monosaccharide L-fucose. Fucoidan is thought to function in water retention by algae. Commercially available fucoidan is extracted from a brown algae called Eurus vesiculosus.

This polysaccharide has immense potential as a biologically active agent: (i) it exhibits anticoagulant action, (ii) it has also been reported to block retroviral replication and (iii) it is capable of blocking sperm-egg binding in sea urchin, mouse and rabbit. Recently, fucoidan has also been shown to block the interaction of human sperm and egg in the hemizona assay system.

The structural characterization of fucoidan was conducted in the early 1950's. However, this study was not exhaustive and questions still remain about its exact structure. With the availability of instruments like Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS) the structural analysis of polysaccharides can be done accurately. In this study, an attempt has been made to reevaluate the structure of fucoidan. For this purpose, fucoidan samples were derivatized and these derivatives were then analyzed by GC-MS.


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