Experimental Articles


, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 546-556

First online:

Laccase and tyrosinase activities in lichens

  • A. G. ZavarzinaAffiliated withDepartment of Soil Chemistry, Faculty of Soil Science, Moscow State University Email author 
  • , A. A. ZavarzinAffiliated withBiological Research Institute, St. Petersburg State University

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Phenoloxidase activity was found in lichenized ascomycetes belonging to different taxonomic groups. Most of the epigeic and epilithic lichens of the order Peltigerales were found to possess both laccase and tyrosinase activities; the lichens of the order Lecanorales possessed only laccase activity, which was an order of magnitude lower than that of Peltigerales. Water-soluble phenoloxidases were present only in peltigerous lichens: activity that could be washed out from intact thalli comprised 10% of that released from disrupted thalli. The activity of the peltigerous lichens and the release of soluble phenoloxidases into the medium increased when the thalli were rehydrated quickly. In some of the lichens tested, the phenoloxidase activity was stimulated by desiccation-rehydration cycles. The oxidases discovered may play an important role in the phenolic metabolism of lichens and be involved in the biochemical reaction of humus synthesis during primary soil formation, which may be a previously unknown geochemical function of these symbiotic microorganisms.

Key words

lichens oxidase laccase tyrosinase humification