Structural characteristics of pectic substances extracted from soybean meal cell walls (water unextractable solids) with a chelating agent-containing buffer (0.05M 1,2-diaminocyclohexane-N,N,N,N-tetraacetic acid (CDTA) and 0.05M NH4-oxalate in 0.05M NaOAc buffer) were studied. The arabinogalactans present as side chains to the rhamnogalacturonan backbone were largely removed by enzymatic hydrolysis using endo-galactanase, exo-galactanase, endo-arabinanase, and arabinofuranosidase B. The remaining pectic backbone appeared to be resistant to enzymatic degradation by pectolytic enzymes. After partial acid hydrolysis of the isolated pectic backbone, one oligomeric and two polymeric populations were obtained by size-exclusion chromatography. Monosaccharide and linkage analyses, enzymatic degradation, and NMR spectroscopy of these populations showed that the pectic substances in the original extract contain both rhamnogalacturonan and xylogalacturonan regions, while homogalacturonan is absent
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