Glycotechnology is leading to new products and understanding in biomedicine, firstly via mammalian glycoconjugates and secondly via non-mammalian glycoconjugates and polysaccharides which are potential pharmaceuticals and targets for drug design.
For example, plants and seaweed have oligosaccharides with many pharmacological effects, microbial antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs contain monosaccharide components, and cell walls of micro-organisms are targets for immunotherapy.
Polysaccharides from the agricultural industry are multi-million pound commercial products in many industrial and domestic areas and are set to gain further prominence as green fuel sources and neutraceuticals (health from diet).
Why is Carbohydrate Chemistry Important?
Studies of interactions between carbohydrates and proteins are vital in understanding the potential controls of many biological processes. Nature has invested much time in devising enzymes and receptors which are highly specific in their interactions with carbohydrates.
Orders of magnitude of structural information and diversity can more readily be carried in carbohydrates in comparison with peptides of the same molecular size.