Molecular cloning, expression and characterization of a novel feruloyl esterase from a soil metagenomic library with phthalate-degrading activity

  • Shenglu Wu
  • Fang Nan
  • Junwei Jiang
  • Jiarong Qiu
  • Yueqi Zhang
  • Beibei Qiao
  • Shan Li
  • Zhihong XinEmail author
Original Research Paper



To discover novel feruloyl esterases (FAEs) by the function-driven screening procedure from soil metagenome.


A novel FAE gene bds4 was isolated from a soil metagenomic library and over-expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant enzyme BDS4 was purified to homogeneity with a predicted molecular weight of 38.8 kDa. BDS4 exhibited strong activity (57.05 U/mg) toward methyl ferulate under the optimum pH and temperature of 8.0 and 37°C. Based on its amino acid sequence and model substrates specificity, BDS4 was classified as a type-C FAE. The quantity of the releasing ferulic acid can be enhanced significantly in the presence of xylanase compared with BDS4 alone from de-starched wheat bran. In addition, BDS4 can also hydrolyze several phthalates such as diethyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate.


The current investigation discovered a novel FAE with phthalate-degrading activity and highlighted the usefulness of metagenomic approaches as a powerful tool for discovery of novel FAEs.


Feruloyl esterase Function-driven screening Phthalate esters Site-directed mutagenesis Soil metagenome 



This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (KYYJ201708) and Qing Lan Project of Jiangsu Province.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10529_2019_2693_MOESM1_ESM.docx (38 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 38935 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shenglu Wu
    • 1
  • Fang Nan
    • 1
  • Junwei Jiang
    • 1
  • Jiarong Qiu
    • 1
  • Yueqi Zhang
    • 1
  • Beibei Qiao
    • 1
  • Shan Li
    • 1
  • Zhihong Xin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Food Processing and Quality Control, College of Food Science and TechnologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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