The sequence of reactions by which alginic acid is biosynthesized from sucrose in Azotobacter vinelandii was determined both by feeding radioactive individual enzymes involved. Results indicate that the first polymeric substance formed in the synthesis is polymannuronic acid and that mannuronic acid units are epimerized to guluronic acid at the polymer level. Guluronic acid does not appear to be formed at the monomer level, either free or in combination with GDP.

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