Chemical characterisation of the oligosaccharides in hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) and Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) milk

Tadasu Urashima, Megumi Arita, Maho Yoshida, Tadashi Nakamura, Ikichi Arai, Tadao Saito, John P.Y. Arnould, Kit M. Kovacs, Christian Lydersen

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Carbohydrates were extracted from hooded seal milk, Crystophora cristata (family Phocidae). Free oligosaccharides were separated by gel filtration and then purified by ion exchange chromatography, gel filtration and preparative thin layer or paper chromatography and their structures determined by 1H-NMR. The hooded seal milk was found to contain inositol and at least nine oligosaccharides, most of which had lacto-N-neotetraose or lacto-N-neohexaose as core units, similar to those in milk of other species of Carnivora such as bears (Ursidae). Their structures were as follows: Gal(β1-4)Glc (lactose); Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)Glc (2′-fucosyllactose); Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (lacto-N-neotetraose); Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (lacto-N-fucopentaose IV); Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(1-4)Glc (lacto-N-neohexaose); Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6 )]Gal(β1-4)Glc (monofucosyl lacto-N-neohexaose a); Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6 )]Gal(β1-4)Glc (monofucosyl lacto-N-neohexaose b); Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)G lcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (difucosyl lacto-N-neohexaose); Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)G lc (para lacto-N-neohexaose); Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3) Gal(β1-4)Glc (monofucosyl para lacto-N-neohexaose). Milk of the Australian fur seal, Arctophalus pusillus doriferus (family Otariidae) contained inositol but no lactose or free oligosaccharides. These results, therefore, support the hypothesis that the milk of otariids, unlike that of phocids, contains no free reducing saccharides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-323
Number of pages17
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jan 1


  • Australian fur seal
  • Chemical structure
  • Cystophora cristata
  • Hooded seal
  • Milk
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Otariidae
  • Phocidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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