Most legume species, such as soybeans, beans, and clover, have the ability to establish a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil, which promotes plant growth and productivity. Exopolysaccharide macromolecules are particularly necessary for binding the bacteria to root hairs and initiating the deformation of root hairs, thus trapping the bacteria in order to initiate root invasion through a tube-like infection thread. Very few studies have focused on the isolation and characterization of new rhizobial exopolysaccharides, despite their unique and specific biological and physicochemical properties. However, rhizobial exopolysaccharides may be studied in detail in the near future, for development of suitable substitutes for xanthan gum. This review discusses some analytical strategies for rhizobial exopolysaccharide characterization, the relation between their structure and properties, and a novel application of rhizobial exopolysaccharides. The potential application of exopolysaccharides and living cells as biosorbents has also been reviewed here.
Keywords: Biodegradability, Biological Applications, Extracellular Carbohydrate Polymers, Ensifer, Heavy Metals, Rhizobium
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