Structural Comparison between Sucrose and Trehalose in Aqueous Solution
Journal article, 2020
The two sugar molecules sucrose and trehalose are both considered as stabilizing molecules for the purpose of preserving biological materials during, for example, lyophilization or cryo-preservation. Although these molecules share a similar molecular structure, there are several important differences in their properties when they interact with water, such as differences in solubility, viscosity, and glass transition temperature. In general, trehalose has been shown to be more efficient than other sugar molecules in preserving different biological molecules against stress, and thus by investigating how these two disaccharides differ in their water interaction, it is possible to further understand what makes trehalose special in its stabilizing properties. For this purpose, the structure of aqueous solutions of these disaccharides was studied by using neutron and X-ray diffraction in combination with empirical potential structure refinement (EPSR) modeling. The results show that there are surprisingly few differences in the overall structure of the solutions, although there are indications for that trehalose perturbs the water structure slightly more than sucrose.