Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 195–203 | Cite as

Thermostable feruloyl esterase for the bioproduction of ferulic acid from triticale bran

  • Kofi Abokitse
  • Meiqun Wu
  • Hélène Bergeron
  • Stephan Grosse
  • Peter C. K. LauEmail author
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


A putative α/β hydrolase fold-encoding gene (locus tag TTE1809) from the genome of Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a possible source of thermostable feruloyl esterase (FAE) for the production of antioxidant phenolic acids from biomass. Designated as TtFAE, the 33-kDa protein was purified to apparent homogeneity. The lipase-like sequence characteristics of TtFAE and its substrate specificity towards methyl ferulate, methyl sinapate, and methyl p-coumarate classify it as a new member of the type A FAEs. At 75°C, the enzyme retained at least 95% of its original activity for over 80 min; at 80°C, its half-life was found to be 50 min, rendering TtFAE a highly thermostable protein. Under different hydrolytic conditions, ferulic acid (FA) was shown to be released from feruloylated oligosaccharides prepared from triticale bran. An estimated recovery of 68 mg FA/100 g triticale bran was demonstrated by a 30% release of the total FA from triticale bran within a 5-h incubation period. Both the oxygen radical absorbing capacity values of the feruloylated oligosaccharides and free FA were also determined. Overall, this work introduces a new bacterial member to the growing family of plant cell wall degrading FAEs that at present is largely of fungal origin, and it benchmarks the bioproduction of FA from triticale bran.


Biorefinery Platform chemicals Antioxidant Phenolic acid ORAC Genome mining 



K.A. and M.W. are supported by funding through the Canadian Triticale Biorefinery Initiative (CTBI) of the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. M. Wellisch is gratefully acknowledged for setting the stage for the CTBI collaboration. We thank A. Corriveau, S. Deschamps, and C. Beaulieu for their expert help in various analytical analyses, and A. Matte and H. Leisch for suggestions and help with the manuscript.

Supplementary material

253_2010_2441_MOESM1_ESM.doc (147 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 147 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kofi Abokitse
    • 1
  • Meiqun Wu
    • 1
  • Hélène Bergeron
    • 1
  • Stephan Grosse
    • 1
  • Peter C. K. Lau
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biotechnology Research InstituteNational Research Council CanadaMontrealCanada

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