Eckelt, J., Sugaya, R., Wolf, B.A.

"Pullulan and dextran: Uncommon composition dependent Flory-Huggins interaction parameter of their aqueous solutions"

Biomacromolecules 2008, 9, 1691-1697.

Abstract: Vapor pressure measurements were performed for aqueous solutions of pullulan (M-w 280 kg/mol) and dextran (Mw 60 and 2100 kg/mol, respectively) at 25, 37.5, and 50 degrees C. The Flory-Huggins interaction parameters obtained from these measurements, plus information on dilute solutions taken from the literature, show that water is a better solvent for pullulan than for dextran. Furthermore, they evince uncommon composition dependencies, including the concurrent appearance of two extrema, a minimum at moderate polymer concentration and a maximum at high polymer concentration. To model these findings, a previously established approach, subdividing the mixing process into two clearly separable steps, was generalized to account for specific interactions between water and polysaccharide segments. Three adjustable parameters suffice to describe the results quantitatively; according to their numerical values, the reasons for the solubility of polysaccharides in water, as compared with that of synthetic polymers in organic solvents, differ in a principal manner. In the former case, the main driving force comes from the first step (contact formation between the components), whereas it is the second step (conformational relaxation) that is advantageous in the latter case.

preprint number: 290