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Home > News > Sugar synthesis speeds up

August 28th, 2010

Sugar synthesis speeds up

Abstract:
When biologists need a particular peptide or strand of DNA, they ask a machine to make it for them. Automation gives fast, inexpensive access to these molecules, and it has helped turbocharge biology.

But constructing complex carbohydrates from sugar building blocks still needs expert chemists, with researchers spending weeks — and tens of thousands of dollars — forging molecules by hand.

Two groups of chemists now say they have independently developed automated carbohydrate synthesizers with the aim of making the molecules on demand.

Seeberger says that 90% of known mammalian carbohydrates can be constructed using just 35 building blocks, which he plans to supply in bulk.

Seeberger presented the early fruits of research using his machines at this week's American Chemical Society meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. For example, he is imaging sugar-covered bacterial cells — and targeting drugs at them — by attaching a variety of glycans to nanoparticles.

Source:
nature.com

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