Chemical characterization of milk oligosaccharides of the polar bear, Ursus maritimus

Tadasu Urashima, Tatsuhiko Yamashita, Tadashi Nakamura, Ikichi Arai, Tadao Saito, Andrew E. Derocher, Øystein Wiig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Two trisaccharides, three tetrasaccharides, two pentasaccharides, one hexasaccharide, one heptasaccharide, one octasaccharide and one decasaccharide were isolated from polar bear milk samples by chloroform/methanol extraction, gel filtration, ion exchange chromatography and preparative thin-layer chromatography. The oligosaccharides were characterized by 1H-NMR as follows: the saccharides from one animal: Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (α3'-galactosyllactose), Fuc(α1-2)Gal(β1-4)Glc (2'-fucosyllactose), Gal(α1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (B-tetrasaccharide), GalNAc(α1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (A-tetrasaccharide), Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(α1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)]Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-3)[Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc; the saccharides from another animal: α3'-galactosyllactose, Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]Glc, A-tetrasaccharide, GalNAc(α1-3)[Fuc(α1-2)]Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]Glc (A-pentasaccharide), Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]GlcNAc(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]Glc (difucosylheptasaccharide) and Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]GlcNAc(β1-3){Gal(α1-3)Gal(β1-4)[Fuc(α1-3)]GlcNAc(β1-6)}Gal(β1-4)Glc (difucosyldecasaccharide). Lactose was present only in small amounts. Some of the milk oligosaccharides of the polar bear had α-Gal epitopes similar to some oligosaccharides in milk from the Ezo brown bear and the Japanese black bear. Some milk oligosaccharides had human blood group A antigens as well as B antigens; these were different from the oligosaccharides in Ezo brown and Japanese black bears. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-408
Number of pages14
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jul 26


  • A-pentasaccharide
  • A-tetrasaccharide
  • B-tetrasaccharide
  • Chemical structure
  • Milk
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Oligosaccharide
  • Polar bear
  • Ursus maritimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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