Interactions of Arabinoxylan and (1,3)(1,4)-β-Glucan with Cellulose Networks Academic Article uri icon


  • To identify interactions of relevance to the structure and properties of the primary cell walls of cereals and grasses, we used arabinoxylan and (1,3)(1,4)-β-glucan, major polymers in cereal/grass primary cell walls, to construct composites with cellulose produced by Gluconacetobacter xylinus. Both polymers associated prolifically with cellulose without becoming rigid or altering the nature or extent of cellulose crystallinity. Mechanical properties were modestly affected compared with xyloglucan or pectin (characteristic components of nongrass primary cell walls) composites with cellulose. In situ depletion of arabinoxylan arabinose side chains within preformed cellulose composites resulted in phase separation, with only limited enhancement of xylan-cellulose interactions. These results suggest that arabinoxylan and (1 → 3)(1 → 4)-β-d-glucan are not functional homologues for either xyloglucan or pectin in the way they interact with cellulose networks. Association of cell-wall polymers with cellulose driven by entropic amelioration of high energy cellulose/water interfaces should be considered as a third type of interaction within cellulose-based cell walls, in addition to molecular binding (enthalpic driving force) exhibited by, for example, xyloglucans or mannans, and interpenetrating networks based on, for example, pectins.


  • Mikkelsen, Deirdre
  • Flanagan, Bernadine M
  • Wilson, Sarah M
  • Bacic, Tony
  • Gidley, Michael J

publication date

  • 2015