Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 345–351

Feruloyl and p-coumaroyl esterase from anaerobic fungi in relation to plant cell wall degradation

  • William S. Borneman
  • Roy D. Hartley
  • W. Herbert Morrison
  • Danny E. Akin
  • Lars G. Ljungdahl
Applied Microbiology


Trans-feruloyl and trans-p-coumaroyl esterases were found in the culture filtrates of two monocentric (Piromyces MC-1, Neocallimastix MC-2) and three polycentric (Orpinomyces PC-2, Orpinomyces PC-3, and PC-1, an unnamed genus with uniflagellated zoospores) isolates of anaerobic rumen fungi. Treatment of cell walls of Coastal bermudagrass shoots with the filtrates released the trans isomers of ferulic and p-coumaric acids; results of microscopic observations indicated that fungal isolates degraded primarily unlignified cell walls in leaf blades and stems. A greater proportion of ferulic than p-coumaric acid was released by this treatment when compared with the amounts of the acids released by saponification of the walls with 1 M NaOH. The filtrates also showed esterase activities against the trans isomers of methyl ferulate and methyl p-coumarate, with ferulic acid being released at a faster rate than p-coumaric acid. Assays for other cell-wall-degrading enzymes (xylanase, β-xylosidase, α-l-arabinosidase, cellulase, β-glucosidase) indicated that only β-xylosidase correlated with ferulate and p-coumarate esterase activities. The monocentric isolate MC-2 had the highest esterase activity against both the plant cell wall and methyl ester substrates and the highest specific activities of acetyl esterase, β-xylosidase, α-l-arabinosidase, cellulase and β-glucosidase. Isolate MC-2 produced substantially greater amounts of feruloyl and p-coumaroyl esterase when the growth substrate contained higher levels of saponifiable ferulic and p-coumaric acids.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Borneman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roy D. Hartley
    • 1
  • W. Herbert Morrison
    • 1
  • Danny E. Akin
    • 1
  • Lars G. Ljungdahl
    • 2
  1. 1.Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research ServiceU. S. Department of AgricultureAthensUSA
  2. 2.Center for Biological Resource Recovery and Department of BiochemistryUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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