Molecular, rheological and physicochemical characterisation of puka gum, an arabinogalactan-protein extracted from the Meryta sinclairii tree

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd A water-soluble polysaccharide (type II arabinogalactan-protein) extracted from the gum exudate of the native New Zealand puka tree (Meryta sinclairii), was characterised for its molecular, rheological and physicochemical properties. In 0.1 M NaCl, the weight average molecular weight (Mw) of puka gum is 5.9 × 106 Da with an RMS radius of 56 nm and z-average hydrodynamic radius of 79 nm. The intrinsic viscosity of the polysaccharide is 57 ml/g with a coil overlap concentration 15% w/w. Together, the shape factor, p, of 0.70 (exponent of RMS radius vs. hydrodynamic radius), Smidsrød-Haug's stiffness parameter B of 0.031 and Mark-Houwink exponent α of 0.375 indicate that the polysaccharide adopts a spherical conformation in solution, similar to gum arabic. The pKa is 1.8. The polysaccharide exhibits a Newtonian to shear-thinning behaviour from 0.2 to 25% w/w. Viscosity of the polysaccharide (1 s−1) decreases with decreasing concentration, increasing temperature, ionic strength, and at acidic pH.