New approaches to the analysis of enzymatically hydrolyzed methyl cellulose. Part 1. Investigation of the influence of structural parameters on the extent of degradation
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Six methyl celluloses (MCs), one with a degree of substitution (DS) of 1.32 and five with DS between 1.83 and 1.88, were thoroughly investigated. Monomer composition and methyl distribution in the polymer chain were analyzed after total or partial random hydrolysis and appropriate derivatization with gas chromatography ( GC) and mass spectrometry (MS), respectively, and used as reference data. The same MCs were then hydrolyzed with an enzyme preparation of Trichoderma longibrachiatum and further investigated with size-exclusion chromatography with multiangle light scattering and refractive index detection (SEC-MALS/RI) and MS. Electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) in combination with various MS analyzers were compared with respect to quantification of the degradation products directly and after perdeuteriomethylation. The methyl group distribution in the oligomeric fractions and the average DS as a function of chain length were calculated from ESI mass spectra. With help of the reference analysis, patterns could be corrected for the unspecific contribution of end groups. By labeling and ESI tandem MS, our knowledge about the tolerance of the enzymes' sub-sites with respect to the number of methyl groups could be improved.