Freshwater plants synthesize sulfated polysaccharides: heterogalactans from Water Hyacinth (Eicchornia crassipes)

Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(1):961-76. doi: 10.3390/ijms13010961. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Sulfated polysaccharides (SP) are found mainly in seaweeds and animals. To date, they have only been found in six plants and all inhabit saline environments. Furthermore, there are no reports of SP in freshwater or terrestrial plants. As such, this study investigated the presence of SP in freshwaters Eichhornia crassipes, Egeria densa, Egeria naja, Cabomba caroliniana, Hydrocotyle bonariensis and Nymphaea ampla. Chemical analysis identified sulfate in N. ampla, H. bonariensis and, more specifically, E. crassipes. In addition, chemical analysis, FT-IR spectroscopy, histological analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA), as well as agarose gel electrophoresis detected SP in all parts of E. crassipes, primarily in the root (epidermis and vascular bundle). Galactose, glucose and arabinose are the main monosaccharides found in the sulfated polysaccharides from E. crassipes. In activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) test, to evaluate the intrinsic coagulation pathway, SP from the root and rhizome prolonged the coagulation time to double the baseline value, with 0.1 mg/mL and 0.15 mg/mL, respectively. However, SP from the leaf and petiole showed no anticoagulant activity. Eichornia SP demonstrated promising anticoagulant potential and have been selected for further studies on bioguided fractionation; isolation and characterization of pure polysaccharides from this species. Additionally in vivo experiments are needed and are already underway.

Keywords: biological activities; freshwater; sulfated galactan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / analysis
  • Anticoagulants / chemistry
  • Eichhornia / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Galactans / analysis*
  • Galactans / chemistry
  • Galactans / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Sulfates / chemistry*
  • Thromboplastin / chemistry
  • Thromboplastin / metabolism


  • Anticoagulants
  • Galactans
  • Polysaccharides
  • Sulfates
  • Thromboplastin