As the α-l,4-glucosans are such an important factor in the
metabolism of plants and animals, it is of great interest to know the
chemical structure of these polysaccharides. Intensive studies have,
therefore, been carried out on α-1,4-glucosans during the past 20-30
years. The result is that the two components of starch, and glycogen
were among the first polysaccharides to be analysed by chemical,
physical and biological methods, and to be synthesised in vitro.
This thesis is concerned with attempts to obtain further
information about the fine structure of these polysaccharides using a
variety of methods for analysis, but with special reference to enzymic
degradation methods. As an introduction to this work, a short review
of the earlier investigations in the field will be given.