Galactan is a polymer of galactose, a six-carbon sugar that can be readily fermented by yeast into ethanol and is a target of interest for those researching advanced biofuels produced from cellulosic biomass.
Galactans are polysaccharide components of pectin, the sticky sugar substance that binds together the individual cells in plant cell walls (and is used to make delicious jellies and jams). The β-1,4-galactan component of pectin is especially abundant in the “tension wood” that forms in cell walls in response to mechanical stress from wind or snowfall. An international collaboration has identified the first enzyme capable of substantially boosting the amount of galactan in plant cell walls.
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