Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Structure Function Relationships in Polysaccharide Blends"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2010 - DURI
Research area(s):
Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Biochemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry; Food Science; Life Science; Physics
Project Description:
Polysaccharide-polysaccharide interactions are attractive commercially and enjoy widespread technological applications. These blends provide an opportunity to develop novel textural characteristics and manipulate the solution properties of food products. Some of the successful examples include xanthan:locust bean gum, acetan:konjacmannan and kappa-carrageenan:locust bean gum. Results show that upon mixing these blends yield gelling complexes. For example, xanthan and locust bean gum (LBG) are better known for their viscous behavior, but the xanthan:LBG complex displays gelation. Although some of these blends are utilized industrially as gelling agents, the origin of gelation and clear-cut knowledge about their molecular interactions are far from sufficient. The present project is aimed at providing some of these pertinent answers. The research focus will be the preparation of polysaccharide blends using several anionic and neutral polysaccharides at different pH conditions and look at their three-dimensional, rheological and thermal properties.
Expected Student Contributions:
The DURI participant is expected to participate in the preparation of polysaccharide complexes, making crystalline fibers, measuring the rheological properties and obtain the thermal properties. The intern will get exposed to several multidisciplinary scientific research areas such as preparation of novel polysaccharide blends, fiber diffraction, solution properties through rheology and thermal properties through differential scanning calorimetry.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA above 3.0, strong interest and commitment towards basic and applied research.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 4 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Janaswamy, Srinivas
Department of Food Science

Student Supervisor

Srinivas Janaswamy
Research Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Osvaldo Campanella