Status Report on Measuring the Low Molecular Weight of Carrageenan


As of 2018, the feasibility of measuring Low Molecular weight Tail (LMT) remains limited based on available technology. Since its previous work done from 2003-2015, the Marinalg Technical WG has considered additional publications, including those indicating polysaccharide analysis using carbohydrate gel electrophoresis (PACE), which relies on derivatization of the reducing ends of sugars with a fluorophore, followed by electrophoresis under optimized conditions in polyacrylamide gels, may be a potential solution. However, EFSA’s specification requires that small sugar units with Mw less than 50kD from CGN and PES must not exceed 5% of the total CGN profile. As the technology involved in PACE is not adequate for detecting this Mw, it presents reason to doubt the success of this method to determine LMT.

Several publications show gel analysis of hydrolyzed polysaccharides, and separation up to a degree of polymerization (DP) of 20 on the gel. However, EFSA specifies that precise oligomer resolution must reach DP 100 or higher. Additionally, while enzymatic treatment is intended to separate one oligosaccharide from another, this may not always occur, as oligosaccharides may stick to the heaviest molecule. It is uncertain whether methods exist to address these challenges.

In addition, developing a validated method for measuring LMT would logically require a standard within the 50kD Mw range to which the sample could be compared. However, it should be noted that standards of CGN do not exist above DP 4.

Marinalg has reached the stage in this work where its analytical findings on method development should be discussed with EFSA. The failure to develop and validate an analytical method to measure the LMT using the best available technologies and recognized experts in this field needs to be addressed.

Following is a report previously submitted to EFSA in 2017 which illustrates the previous work of Marinalg International to measure the LMT of CGN and PES.

To read the full summary and report, click here.

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