Long-range influence of carbohydrates on the solvation dynamics of water - Answers from terahertz absorption measurements and molecular modeling simulations

M. Heyden, E. Bründermann, U. Heugen, G. Niehues, D. M. Leitner, M. Havenith

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238 Scopus citations


We present new terahertz (THz) spectroscopic measurements of solvated sugars and compare the effect of two disaccharides (trehalose and lactose) and one monosaccharide (glucose) with respect to the solute-induced changes in the sub-picosecond network dynamics of the hydration water. We found that the solute affects the fast collective network motions of the solvent, even beyond the first solvation layer. For all three carbohydrates, we find an increase of 2-4% in the THz absorption coefficient of the hydration water in comparison to bulk water. Concentration-dependent changes in the THz absorption between 2.1 and 2.8 THz of the solute-water mixture were measured with a precision better than 1% and were used to deduce a dynamical hydration shell, which extends from the surface up to 5.7 ± 0.4 and 6.5 ± 0.9 Å for the disaccharides lactose and trehalose, respectively, and 3.7 ± 0.9 Å the glucose. This exceeds the values for the static hydration shell as determined, for example, by scattering, where the long-range structure was found to be not significantly affected by the solute beyond the first hydration shell. When comparing all three carbohydrates, we found that the solute-induced change in the THz absorption depends on the product of molar concentration of the solute and the number of hydrogen bonds between the carbohydrate and water molecules. We can conclude that the long-range influence on the sub-picosecond collective water network motions of the hydration water is directly correlated with the average number of hydrogen bonds between the molecule and adjacent water molecules for carbohydrates. This implies that monosaccharides have a smaller influence on the surrounding water molecules than disaccharides. This could explain the bioprotection mechanism of sugar-water mixtures, which has been found to be more effective for disaccharides than for monosaccharides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5773-5779
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 30 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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