Direct measurement of forces between linear polysaccharides xanthan and schizophyllan

Science  14 Sep 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4974, pp. 1278-1281
DOI: 10.1126/science.2144663


Direct osmotic stress measurements have been made of forces between helices of xanthan, an industrially important charged polysaccharide. Exponentially decaying hydration forces, much like those already measured between lipid bilayer membranes or DNA double helices, dominate the interactions at close separation. Interactions between uncharged schizophyllans also show the same kind of hydration force seen between xanthans. In addition to the practical possibilities for modifying solution and suspension properties through recognition and control of molecular forces, there is now finally the opportunity for theorists to relate macroscopic properties of a polymer solution to the microscopic properties that underlie them.