Hydroxypropyl xylans with varying degrees of substitution were characterized by size-exclusion chromatography. Molar masses of the samples were determined using two approaches: by conventional calibration with molar mass standards and by a multi-detection method that utilizes the combination of static light scattering, viscometry, and differential refractive index detection. The molar mass results obtained by the multi-detection method were accurate, but required the determination of separate refractive index increments for each structurally different sample. The column calibration approach with standard pullulan samples gave biased results due to the differences in hydrodynamic volumes between pullulans and hydroxypropyl xylans with similar molar masses. The degree of hydroxypropylation affected the chain conformation and compactness of the polymer chains. Mark-Houwink parameters and persistence length values suggested that the hydroxypropyl substituents reduced the flexibility of the xylan chain and made the polymer chain more extended.
- size-exclusion chromatography
- chain stiffness