Contribution of Franz Schardinger to cyclodextrins

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Prof. Crini  has collected the literature on the contribution of Franz Schardinger (1853-1920), one of the pioneers, to the discovery and exploration of cyclodextrins to pay tribute on the occasion of the centenarium of his death [1]. Schardinger was the first to describe the particular properties of cyclodextrins and lay the foundation for their chemistry. He is known as the ” Founding Father” of cyclodextrins.

Franz Shardinger working in the Food Research Institute in Vienna found also the 2 crystalline byproducts at the degradation of starch similarly to Villiers, the French pharmacist and chemist, who first described these materials. Schardinger could isolate them in much higher yield than Villiers giving him the possibility for more detailed studies. He isolated Bacillus macerans, the microbes producing the crystalline “amylodextrins”, which he called later crystalline α- and β-dextrins. He worked out a procedure for their preparation and for the separation of these 2 types of dextrins. He discovered the complex forming ability and hypothesized their cyclic structure. As his findings were fundamental later on, these materials were called Schardinger dextrins in his honor.

The paper describes the details on Schardinger’s research:

  • preparation and isolation of cyclodextrins;
  • preparation and isolation the enzyme of Bacillus macerans;
  • first concepts in terms of chemical structure and inclusion properties.

Franz Schardinger’s major discovery was undoubtedly to have isolated the microorganisms capable of synthesizing the enzyme that catalyzes the degradation of starch to cyclodextrins, identified later as cyclodextrin glucosyltransferase.

Read more:

1 Crini, G. (2020) The contribution of Franz Schardinger to cyclodextrins: a tribute on the occasion of the centenary of his death. Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry 97(1-2), 19-28

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