The structure of alginate

To download the pdf template for the alginate structures click here.

In order to demonstrate the difference in the structures of ‘MMMMM’ and ‘GGGGG’ regions of alginate polymers, print the following out onto paper, and cut along the black dashed lines. Fold along the red dashed lines in a concertina, cut the end of the strip so that it folds up to the end of the paper, and cut along the green dashed lines.

Open out the  chains to see that the ‘GGGGG’ polymer sections can form ‘egg-box’ structures when linked together with calcium ions, where as the ‘MMMMM’ polymer sections are more linear in structure:

Alginate polymer structures, ‘egg-boxes’ between ‘GGGGG’ (orange) sections bound with calcium ions (top), and the more linear ‘MMMMM’ sections (blue, bottom)