There's a good bit of info on this in the literature. I'm almost certain
that Peter Albersheim's group (CCRC, Univ. of Georgia) published
procedures for what you want to do some years back. You might also want
to check the series of database papers coming out of Gary Gray's group
(my Ph.D. advisor) at the U. of Minnesota between ~1993 and '96, maybe
'97. The first author on most those papers was Larry Elvebak. The
derivatives are a little different (partially methylated anhydroalditol
acetates and benzoates instead of alditols) but the process is very
similar to what you're interested in. If you email Gary to request
reprints, I'm sure he'll can have a set sent up to you. All of the
papers from both labs was published in Carbohydrate Research.
Are you working at the Sussex Drive labs? If so, you have access to
several very knowledgeable chemists in the Immunochem program within IBS
with whom you could consult. Harry Jennings, Jim Richards, and Malcolm
Perry come immediately to mind.
A.J. D'Ambra, Ph.D.
Research Test Development
Pasteur Merieux Connaught USA
Swiftwater, PA USA
(PS: Something I just thought of after sending your direct email
msg--you'll have to protect the anomeric carbon during methylation, i.e.
as a base-stable glycoside, otherwise the base will degrade your
monosacchs. In oligo- and poly-saccharides this destruction of the
reducing-end residue by base is known as "peeling".)