The involvement of hydroxyl radical derived from hydrogen peroxide in lignin degradation by the white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium.

L. J. Forney, C. A. Reddy, Ming Tien, S. D. Aust

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The possible involvement of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-derived hydroxyl radical (.OH) in lignin degradation ([14C]lignin leads to 14CO2) by Phanerochaete chrysosporium was investigated. When P. chrysosporium was grown in low nitrogen medium (2.4 mM N), an increase in the specific activity for H2O2 production in cell extracts was observed to coincide with the appearance of ligninolytic activity and both activities appeared after the culture entered stationary phase. The production of .OH in ligninolytic cultures of P. chrysosporium was demonstrated by alpha-keto-gamma-methiolbutyric acid-dependent formation of ethylene. Hydrogen peroxide-dependent .OH formation was also shown in cell extracts of ligninolytic cultures. The radical species was demonstrated to be .OH by the .OH-dependent hydroxylation of p-hydroxybenzoic acid to form protocatechuic acid and by using 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide and detecting the production of the nitroxide radical of 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide by EPR. These reactions were inhibited by .OH-scavenging agents and were stimulated when azide was added to inhibit endogenous catalase. Lignin degradation by P. chrysosporium was markedly suppressed in the presence of the .OH-scavenging agents mannitol, benzoate, and the nonspecific radical scavenging agent butylated hydroxytoluene. The above results indicate that .OH derived from H2O2 is involved in lignin biodegradation by P. chrysosporium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11455-11462
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 1982


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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