Surfactant-mediated solubilisation of amylose and visualisation by atomic force microscopy

A. Patrick Gunning, Thierry P. Giardina, Craig B. Faulds, Nathalie Juge, Steven G. Ring, Gary Williamson, Victor J. Morris

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63 Citations (Scopus)


The starch polysaccharide amylose has been visualised at the molecular level by atomic force microscopy (AFM). In order to image individual amylose chains, a new method was developed for producing aqueous amylose solutions at room temperature. The method involved incubation of hot amylose solutions with iodine and the non-ionic surfactant Tween-20 (polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate). This process stabilises the amylose molecules such that, after cooling to room temperature, no aggregation takes place. AFM images of the resulting sample revealed a distribution of extended chain-like molecules, and allowed for the first time, direct visualisation of a small number of branched macromolecules. Treatment of the sample with the starch-degrading bacterial α-amylase (EC confirmed the nature of the soluble chain-like polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • α-Amylase
  • Amylose
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Branching
  • Tween-20

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