The main oligosaccharide (50%) in the milk of the Australian echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) has been identified unequivocally as 4-O-acetyl-α-N-acetylneur-amínyl-(2→3)-lactose. The 4-O-acetyl substituent of the sialic acid residue was characterised by g.l.c.-m.s. of the isolated (after mild, acid hydrolysis) and trimethyl-silylated/esterified sialic acid, and by m.s. (after derivatisation) and 500-MHz,1H-n.m.r. spectroscopy of the intact oligosaccharide. Information about the glycosidic bonds was obtained by methylation analysis and 500-MHz,1H-n.m.r. spectroscopy. This animal species is the third one known to produce 4-O-acetylated sialic acid. © 1982.
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