The 500 MHz proton-n.m.r. spectra of 21 oligosaccharides, predominantly of the lacto-N and lacto-N-neo series and their derivatives containing non-reducing terminal fucose, sialic acid or N-acetylgalactosamine and reduced-end hexitol or hexosaminitol, were examined with 2H2O as solvent. The chemical-shift data obtained from analysis of the spectra were collated with data from other laboratories who have used 250-500 MHz n.m.r. in the analysis of secreted and chemically synthesized oligosaccharides and of the O- and N-linked chains of glycoproteins. A referenced computer library was constructed that includes the chemical shifts of monosaccharides within oligosaccharide sequences that make up the majority of the carbohydrate structures found in mammalian glycoproteins. Examples are given of the computerized interrogation of this library for the assignment of possible structures of unknown oligosaccharides.

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