— George Usher, Chairman, Dextran


What is Dextran?

When we asked George Usher, Chairman at Dextran in Ontario, what he thought of their DV Systems rotary screw air compressor, he was happy to say how impressed he is by not only its powerful & efficient delivery, but by how quietly it operates in their facility, allowing employees to focus on what matters most, ensuring quality control.

Dextran Products Limited, has been manufacturing dextran and important dextran derivatives since the company began operations over four decades ago. Its fully equipped, 28,000 sq. ft. Toronto production facility manufactures powders & liquids in bulk for sale and export through an international network of human and animal health product distributors.


The Dextran supplied by Dextran Products Limited is biosynthesized by the non-pathogenic Leuconostoc mesenteroides NRRL B-512. The product is enzymatically synthesized by the transfer of glucosyl groups from sucrose to the growing Dextran chain. The enzyme, Dextran-Sucrose performs the following reaction:

n sucrose Dextran n (glucose) – chain + n (fructose) Sucrose


They are linked by alpha-(1-6)-linkages. The presence of a small number of alpha-(1-3)-linkages gives rise to branching of the chain. The molecular weight of native Dextran may be as high as several hundred million due to its chain formation. The specific molecular weight produced can be manufactured by partial acidic or enzymatic hydrolysis of the molecule followed by repeated fractionation and precipitation with alcohol or by ultra-filtration.

Dextran History

This plant has the capacity to simultaneously produce both 10% and 20% Iron Dextran at the rate of up to 11,000 liters per week, and 250 kilograms per month of Dextran Sulphate. Current production is approximately 8,000 liters of Iron Dextran per week and approximately 250 kilos of Dextran Sulphate per quarter.

The late Mr. Usher was a visionary and entrepreneur who established the company in Canada in 1969, but the story began decades before then. In 1938, Mr. Usher began investigating an anomalous reaction to sugar in storage, which may have led to the first deliberate synthesis of dextran. One of the earliest applications of this new discovery was as a human blood substitute. Seven decades later dextran and dextran derivatives are used in a multitude of human and veterinary pharmaceutical applications, as vaccine adjuvants and in cosmetics. The company holds extensive patents covering products developed from Mr. Usher's scientific research and ingenuity.

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