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A novel strategy to utilize ethylene glycol‐ionic liquids for the selective precipitation of polysaccharides

Zhao, Xiaoyong, Ma, Ge, Wu, Datong, Cai, Pengfei, Pan, Yuanjiang
Journal of separation science 2019 v.42 no.9 pp. 1757-1767
Oriental traditional medicine, cations, dextran, ethylene, ethylene glycol, hydrophilicity, ionic liquids, models, polymers, temperature
In the present work, three hydrophilic ionic liquids based on the combination between imidazolium cations attached with ethylene glycol polymers of various lengths and hexafluorophosphate anion were designed and synthesized for the separation of polysaccharides. By employing dextran 100 kDa as model compound, the effects of ionic liquid content, solvent/anti‐solvent volume, and temperature on its recovery efficiency were investigated systematically. The ability of these ionic liquids to precipitate dextran 100 kDa, increases with the elongation of ethylene glycol polymer chain. The established ionic liquid‐based precipitation system was successfully applied to selectively precipitate polysaccharides from water extracts of three traditional Chinese medicines and the precipitation could be achieved in about 15 min. In addition, the different precipitation responses of acidic, neutral, and basic polysaccharides in the ionic liquid‐based precipitation system and theoretical calculations both suggested that the selective precipitation of polysaccharides was probably mediated by interaction between ionic liquids and polysaccharides. The proposed strategy facilitated the isolation and purification of polysaccharides and may trigger a novel application of ionic liquids in carbohydrate research.