identifying polymer

i am student of biotechnology i found one strain of yeast which produces one polymer extracellularly that polymer is seperating by addition of alcohol in broth. it looks like and behave like chewing gum. can somebody tell me that how i should proceed to identify this polymer.


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There are a number of tests that will be needed to characterize your polymer. Chemical structure can usually be determined from spectroscopic techniques such as FTIR and NMR. Molecular weight via GPC. Dynamic mechanical tests can help with rheological and physical properties. All thoses test require relatively small amounts (10-20g) of material. To get tensile and other physical properties you'll need more. Say up to 500 g.

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Larry Effler

In addition to the one's Larry Effler mentioned, if you think it is a already characterized polymer, DSC would be valuable (for Tg and Tm if it is crystalline). Elemental analysis especially if it contain N or S, but even the ratio of components are important - many SEMs can do this very quickly.

And to echo Larry FTIR is your best bet if your sample is relatively pure.

Otherwise seeing if you can use solvents to seperate and purify it would be the next, painful step.

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Agree with Larry and Joseki. FTIR is your best bet. At least you will get an idea if it is a 'known' substance or not. If it isn't or is impure then you will have to resort to seperation and purification. the department of polymer science at Stellenbosch University (SA) can do an analysis for you.

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Forget the guys name but prices are reasonable. If you are stuck send me an email and I'll look up the guys name (it's actually an independant department within the Dept of Polymer Sci but I have email on record somewhere).

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