Dextran is an extracellular bacterial polymer of D-glucopyranose that majorly comprises α-(1→6) linkage in the main chain and a varying amount of α-(1→2), α-(1→3), α-(1→4) branched linkages.
Dextran is commercially used as a drug, specifically as a blood plasma volume expander. It acts as an adjuvant, emulsifier, carrier, and stabilizer in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Sephadex is a cross-linked dextran that aids the separation and purification of protein. Dextran is used as a thickener for jam and ice cream in the food industry. It hinders the crystallization of sugar and augments moisture retention. This in turn maintains the flavor and appearance of several food items.