The objective of this research was to identify the biochemical agents responsible for the oxidative degradation of lignin by the white-rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. We examined the hypothesis that activated oxygen species are involved, and we also sought the agent in ligninolytic cultures responsible for a specific oxidative degradative reaction in substructure model compounds. Results of studies of the production of activated oxygen species by cultures, of the effect of their removal on ligninolytic activity, and of their action on substructure model compounds support a role for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and possibly superoxide (O2 ·-) in lignin degradation. Involvement of hydroxyl radical (·OH) or singlet oxygen (1O2) is not supported by our data. The actual biochemical agent responsible for one important oxidative C-C bond cleavage reaction in non-phenolic lignin substructure model compounds, and in lignin itself, was found to be an enzyme. The enzyme is extracellular, has a molecular weight of 42,000 daltons, is azide-sensitive, and requires H2O2 for activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology