Purification and characterization of two thermostable cellulase-free xylanases from workers of the termite Macrotermes subhyalinus (Isoptera: Termitidae)

  • Betty Meuwiah Faulet
  • Sébastien NiamkéEmail author
  • Jean Tia Gonnety
  • Lucien Patrice Kouamé


Termite workers, Macrotermes subhyalinus (Rambur), produced two cellulase-free xylanases, namely Xyl A and Xyl B. DEAE-Sepharose CL-6B, Sephacryl S-200 HR, CM-Sepharose CL-6B and Phenyl-Sepharose CL-4B chromatographies purified these enzymes. They exhibited molecular masses of 63–66.1 (Xyl A) and 60.7–62.4 (Xyl B) kDa. Both enzymes appeared to be endo-xylanases, which produced oligomers of xylose from xylan and did not hydrolyse them to xylose. They had different optimum pH (pH 4.6–5.0 for Xyl A and pH 5.0 for Xyl B) and different optimum temperatures (60 °C for Xyl A and 55 °C for Xyl B). However, they had the same pH stability (4.0–5.6). Both enzymes were stable at 50 °C for more than 4 h. At a pH ranging from 4.6–5.0 and 60 °C, Xyl A and Xyl B possessed the half-life of 115 and 60 min, respectively. The xylanase activities were stimulated by Na+, Mn2+ and dithiol-reducing agents and were sensitive to Cu2+ and detergent agents. Their enzymatic activity was slightly reduced by the presence of urea at 1% (w/v) concentration. The two enzymes could be used in the presence of organic solvents such as acetone (up to 10% v/v) without loss of activity.

Key words

xylanases cellulase-free thermostable Macrotermes subhyalinus termite worker Macrotermitinae Termitidae 

Mots clés

xylanases sans cellulase thermostable Macrotermes subhyalinus ouvrier de termite Macrotermitinae Termitidae 


Les ouvriers du termite Macrotermes subhyalinus (Rambur) produisent deux cellulases sans xylanases, à savoir Xyl A et Xyl B. Ces enzymes ont été purifiées en chromatographies DEAE-Sepharose CL-6B, Sephacryl S-200 HR, CM-Sepharose CL-6B et Phenyl-Sepharose CL-4B. Leurs masses moléculaires sont de 63–66,1 (Xyl A) et de 60,7–62,4 (Xyl B) kDa. Les deux enzymes semblent être des endo-xylanases, qui produisent des oligomères du xylose à partir du xylane mais ne les hydrolisent pas en xylose. Elles ont des pH optima différents (pH 4,6–5,0 pour Xyl A et pH de 5,0 pour Xyl B) et des températures optimales différentes (60°C pour Xyl A et 55°C pour Xyl B). Elles ont cependant le même pH de stabilité (4,0–5,6). Les deux enzymes sont stables à 50°C pendant 4 h. A un pH compris entre 4,6–5,0 et une température de 60°C, Xyl A et Xyl B ont une durée de demivie de 115 et 60 min respectivement. Les activités xylanases sont stimulées par Na+, Mn2+ et des agents réducteurs de type dithiol mais réduites par le Cu2+ et des agents détergents. Leur activité enzymatique est légèrement altérée par la présence d’urée à la concentration de 1% (w/v). Les deux enzymes pourraient être utilisées en présence de solvants organiques tels que l’acétone (jusqu’à 10% v/v) sans perte d’activité.


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty Meuwiah Faulet
    • 1
  • Sébastien Niamké
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jean Tia Gonnety
    • 1
  • Lucien Patrice Kouamé
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biochimie et Technologie des Aliments de l’Unité de Formation et de Recherche en Sciences et Technologie des Aliments de l’Université d’Abobo-AdjaméCôte d’Ivoire
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biotechnologies, Filière Biochimie-Microbiologie de l’Unité de Formation et de Recherche en Biosciences de l’Université de CocodyCôte d’Ivoire

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