FucoPol is an acylated polysaccharide with demonstrated valuable functional properties that include a shear thinning fluid behaviour, a film-forming capacity, and an emulsion forming and stabilizing capacity. In this study, the different conditions (concentration, temperature, and time) for alkaline treatment were investigated to deacylate FucoPol. Complete deacetylation and desuccinylation was achieved with 0.02 M NaOH, at 60 °C for 15 min, with no significant impact on the biopolymer’s sugar composition, pyruvate content, and molecular mass distribution. FucoPol depyruvylation by acid hydrolysis was attempted, but it resulted in a very low polymer recovery. The effect of the ionic strength, pH, and temperature on the deacetylated/desuccinylated polysaccharide, d-FucoPol, was evaluated, as well as its emulsion and film-forming capacity. d-FucoPol aqueous solutions maintained the shear thinning behaviour characteristic of FucoPol, but the apparent viscosity decreased significantly. Moreover, contrary to FucoPol, whose solutions were not affected by the media’s ionic strength, the d-FucoPol solutions had a significantly higher apparent viscosity for a higher ionic strength. On the other hand, the d-FucoPol solutions were not affected by the pH in the range of 3.6–11.5, while FucoPol had a decreased viscosity for acidic pH values and for a pH above 10.5. Although d-FucoPol displayed an emulsification activity for olive oil similar to that of FucoPol (98 ± 0%) for an oil-to-water ratio of 2:3, the emulsions were less viscous. The d-FucoPol films were flexible, with a higher Young′s modulus (798 ± 152 MPa), a stress at the break (22.5 ± 2.5 MPa), and an elongation at the break (9.3 ± 0.7%) than FucoPol (458 ± 32 MPa, 15.5 ± 0.3 MPa and 8.1 ± 1.0%, respectively). Given these findings, d-FucoPol arises as a promising novel biopolymer, with distinctive properties that may render it useful for utilization as a suspending or emulsifier agent, and as a barrier in coatings and packaging films.
- alkaline treatment
- film forming