Effect of γ-irradiation on degradation of alginate

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The aqueous solution of alginate was irradiated by 60Co γ-rays in the dose range of 10-500 kGy. To assess the effect of irradiation on the degradation of alginate, the irradiation-induced changes in the viscosity, molecular weight, color, monomer composition, and sequence were measured. The molecular weight of raw alginate was reduced from 300000 to 25000 when irradiated at 100 kGy. The degradation rate decreased and the chain breaks per molecule increased with increasing irradiation dose. The viscosity of irradiated alginate solution reached a near minimum as low as at 10 kGy. No appreciable color changes were observed in the samples irradiated at up to 100 kGy, but intense browning occurred beyond 200 kGy. The 13C NMR spectra showed that homopolymeric blocks, MM and GG, increased and the M/G ratio decreased with irradiation. Considering both the level of degradation and the color change of alginate, the optimum irradiation dose was found to be 100 kGy.

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Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry