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Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 121–132 | Cite as

What can feruloyl esterases do for us?

  • Craig B. Faulds
Article

Abstract

The role of feruloyl esterases in plant wall development, in gut health, and in the breakdown of plant biomass for the production of bioactive phytochemicals and biofuel is covered in this review. These enzymes have potential roles in stomatal cell function and the phenolic substitutions and cross-linkages between plant cell wall components. As more plant genomes are sequenced, the role of ferulic acid and feruloyl esterases in planta may be better understood. In human and ruminal digestion, these enzymes are important to de-esterify dietary fibre, releasing hydroxycinnamates and derivatives which have been shown to have positive health effects, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activities. They are also involved in colonic fermentation where their extracellular and intracellular activities in the microbiota improve the breakdown of polysaccharides and increase microbial production of short chain fatty acids. Their specificity can also be employed to synthesize bioactive compounds for cosmetic and health applications. The enzymatic disassembly of cereal straws is greatly enhanced when feruloyl esterase activity is present, although the substrate specificity of the esterase appears to have some bearing on its optimal application. The involvement of feruloyl esterases in the improved enzymatic and microbial saccharification of cereal-derived material demonstrates a high importance for these enzymes in animal feed preparation and bioalcohol production.

Keywords

Phenolic acids Human nutrition Biofuel Biomass breakdown Enzymatic synthesis 

Abbreviations

AnFaeA

Type-A feruloyl esterase from Aspergillus niger

AnFaeB

Type-B feruloyl esterase from Aspergillus niger

CA

Caffeic acid

ChlA

Chlorogenic acid

CLEA

Cross-linked enzyme aggregate

diFA

Diferulic acid

DPPH

1,1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl

FA

Ferulic acid

FAE

Feruloyl esterase

GH10

Glycoside hydrolase family 10

GH11

Glycoside hydrolase family 11

HCA

Hydroxycinnamic acids

kDa

One thousand Dalton units

LDL

Low-density lipoprotein

MCA

Methyl caffeate

MFA

Methyl ferulate

MpCA

Methyl p-coumarate

MSA

Methyl sinapate

pCA

p-Coumaric acid

SA

Sinapic acid

StFaeC

Type-C feruloyl esterase from Sporotrichum thermosporum

TsFaeC

Type-C feruloyl esterase from Talaromyces stipitatus

WB

Wheat bran

WS

Wheat straw

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK, is kindly thanked for financial support.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research ParkColneyUK
  2. 2.Biotechnology for Lignocellulosic Biomass Research Group, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CSIC)MadridSpain

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