Characterization of the exopolysaccharide produced by a whey utilizing strain of Klebsiella oxytoca

  • AM Dlamini
  • PS Peiris
  • JH Bavor
  • K Kailasapathy
Keywords: Apparent viscosity, exopolysaccharide, Klebsiella oxytoca, pseudoplastic, rheology, rhamnose, whey.


Physical, chemical and rheological properties of a polysaccharide produced by an isolate of Klebsiella oxytoca were characterized. Freeze dried samples of the polysaccharide were neutral and were
completely soluble in water. Samples did not form gels even in the presence of salt treatments. The major monosaccharide constituents of the polysaccharide were rhamnose (37%, w/w) and glucose
(34%, w/w). Residues of cellobiose were detected, suggesting that the polysaccharide had a cellulose backbone. The gum was more comparable to broth apparent viscosities of xanthan gum than to gellan
gum. The K. oxytoca polysaccharide (KOP) produced high solution viscosity at low concentrations. At a gum concentration 0.5% (w/v), an apparent viscosity of 400 cP at 24 s-1 was obtained. Rheological
behavior showed that the KOP formed non newtonian fluids, indicating that it is a pseudoplastic biopolymer. Although the KOP solutions displayed pseudoplastic behavior, increases in shearing time
did not result in significant changes on the apparent viscosity. This indicated that the gum is neither thixotropic nor rheopectic. The conclusion reached about the potential application of the gum was that
it could be suitable for use as a stabilizing or suspending agent rather than a gelling agent.

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eISSN: 1684-5315