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Product code: I-AZCEL

3 g

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Content: 3 g
Shipping Temperature: Ambient
Storage Temperature: Ambient
Physical Form: Powder
Stability: > 2 years under recommended storage conditions
Substrate For (Enzyme): endo-Cellulase
Assay Format: Spectrophotometer (Semi-quantitative), Petri-dish (Qualitative)
Detection Method: Absorbance
Wavelength (nm): 590

High purity dyed and crosslinked insoluble AZCL-HE-Cellulose for identification of enzyme activities in research, microbiological enzyme assays and in vitro diagnostic analysis.

Substrate for the assay of endo-cellulase.

We offer other insoluble substrates.

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Megazyme publication
New chromogenic substrates for the assay of alpha-amylase and (1→4)-β-D-glucanase.

McCleary, B. V. (1980). Carbohydrate Research, 86(1), 97-104.

New chromogenic substrates have been developed for the quantitative assay of alpha-amylase and (1→4)-β-D-glucanase. These were prepared by chemically modifying amylose or cellulose before dyeing, to increase solubility. After dyeing, the substrates were either soluble or could be readily dispersed to form fine, gelatinous suspensions. Assays based on the use of these substrates are sensitive and highly specific for either alpha-amylase or (1→4)-β-D-glucanase. The method of preparation can also be applied to obtain substrates for other endo-hydrolases.

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Expression and Characterization of a Small, Xylan/Cellulose-degrading GH43 Protein Derived from Biofertilizer Metagenome.

Oraintara, A. & Bhunaonin, P. (2022). The Open Microbiology Journal, 16(1).

Background: A putative glycosyl hydrolase gene biof1_09 was identified from a metagenomic fosmid library of local biofertilizers in previous report [1]. The gene is renamed as gh43kk in this study. Methods: The gene gh43kk, encoding a putative β-D-xylosidase was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and successfully cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The expressed recombinant protein was purified by metal affinity chromatography. Its properties were initially verified by enzyme assay and thin layer chromatography (TLC). Results: The purified recombinant protein showed the highest catalytic activities at acidic pH 4 and 50°C toward beechwood xylan, followed by carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). TLC analysis indicated a release of xylose and glucose when xylan and CMC were treated with Gh43kk protein, respectively, whereas glucose and cellobiose were detected when avicel, cellulose and filter paper were used as substrates, suggesting its dual function as xylanase with cellulase activity. The enzyme indicated great stability in a temperature between 10 to 50°C and a wide range of pH from 4 to 8. Enzyme activity of Gh43kk was enhanced in the presence of magnesium and manganese ions, while calcium ions, Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) inhibited the enzyme activity. Conclusion: These results suggest that Gh43kk could be a potential candidate for application in various bioconversion processes.

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A multi-plex protein expression system for production of complex enzyme formulations in Trichoderma reesei.

Subramanian, V., Farmer, S. J., Heiland, K. L., Moore, K. T., Vander Wall, T. A., Sun, W., Chaudhari, Y. B., Himmel, M. E. & Decker, S. R. (2022). Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, In Press.

Heterologous protein production has been challenging in the hyper-cellulolytic fungus, Trichoderma reesei as the species is known for poor transformation efficiency, low homologous recombination frequency, and marginal screening systems for the identification of successful transformants. We have applied the 2A-peptide multi-gene expression system to co-express four proteins, which include three cellulases: a cellobiohydrolase (CBH1), an endoglucanase (EG1), and a β-D-glucosidase (BGL1), as well as the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) marker protein. We designed a new chassis vector, pTrEno-4X-2A, for this work. Expression of these cellulase enzymes was confirmed by real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR and immunoblot analysis. The activity of each cellulase was assessed using chromogenic substrates, which confirmed the functionality of the enzymes. Expression and activity of these enzymes were proportional to the level of eGFP fluorescence, thereby validating the reliability of this screening technique. An 18-fold difference in protein expression was observed between the first and third genes within the 2A-peptide construct. The availability of this new multi-gene expression and screening tool is expected to greatly impact multi-enzyme applications, such as the production of complex commercial enzyme formulations and metabolic pathway enzymes, especially those destined for cell-free applications.

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Inhibition of LPMOs by Fermented Persimmon Juice.

Tokin, R., Ipsen, J. Ø., Poojary, M. M., Jensen, P. E., Olsson, L. & Johansen, K. S. (2021). Biomolecules, 11(12), 1890.

Fermented persimmon juice, Kakishibu, has traditionally been used for wood and paper protection. This protective effect stems at least partially from inhibition of microbial cellulose degrading enzymes. The inhibitory effect of Kakishibu on lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) and on a cocktail of cellulose hydrolases was studied, using three different cellulosic substrates. Dose dependent inhibition of LPMO activity by a commercial Kakishibu product was assessed for the well-characterized LPMO from Thermoascus aurantiacus TaAA9A, and the inhibitory effect was confirmed on five additional microbial LPMOs. The model tannin compound, tannic acid exhibited a similar inhibitory effect on TaAA9A as Kakishibu. It was further shown that both polyethylene glycol and tannase can alleviate the inhibitory effect of Kakishibu and tannic acid, indicating a likely mechanism of inhibition caused by unspecific tannin-protein interactions.

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Inhibition of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase by natural plant extracts.

Tokin, R., Frandsen, K. E., Ipsen, J. Ø., Lo Leggio, L., Poojary, M. M., Berrin, J. G., Grisel, S., Brander, S., Jensen, P. E. & Johansen, K. S. (2021). New Phytologist, 232(3), 1337-1349.

Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are monocopper enzymes of industrial and biological importance. In particular, LPMOs play important roles in fungal lifestyle. No inhibitors of LPMOs have yet been reported. In this study, a diverse library of 100 plant extracts was screened for LPMO activity-modulating effects. By employing protein crystallography and LC-MS, we successfully identified a natural LPMO inhibitor. Extract screening revealed a significant LPMO inhibition by methanolic extract of Cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon), which inhibited LsAA9A LPMO from Lentinus similis in a concentration-dependent manner. With a notable exception, other microbial LPMOs from families AA9 and AA10 were also inhibited by this cinnamon extract. The polyphenol cinnamtannin B1 was identified as the inhibitory component by crystallography. Cinnamtannin B1 was bound to the surface of LsAA9A at two distinct binding sites: one close to the active site and another at a pocket on the opposite side of the protein. Independent characterization of cinnamon extract by LC-MS and subsequent activity measurements confirmed that the compound inhibiting LsAA9A was cinnamtannin B1. The results of this study show that specific natural LPMO inhibitors of plant origin exist in nature, providing the opportunity for future exploitation of such compounds within various biotechnological contexts.

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Biochemical and synergistic properties of a novel alpha‐amylase from Chinese nong‐flavor Daqu.

Chen, L., Yi, Z., Fang, Y., Jin, Y., He, K., Xiao, Y., Zhao, D., Luo, H., He, H., Sun, Q. & Zhao, H. (2021). Microbial Cell Factories, 20(1), 1-15.

Background: Daqu is the most important fermentation starter for Chinese liquor, with large number of microbes and enzymes being openly enriched in the Daqu system over thousands of years. However, only a few enzymes have been analyzed with crude protein for total liquefying power and saccharifying power of Daqu. Therefore, the complex enzymatic system present in Daqu has not been completely characterized. Moreover, their pivotal and complicated functions in Daqu are completely unknown. Results: In this study, a novel α-amylase NFAmy13B, from GH13_5 subfamily (according to the Carbohydrate-Active enZYmes Database, CAZy) was successfully heterologous expressed by Escherichia coli from Chinese Nong-flavor (NF) Daqu. It exhibited high stability ranging from pH 5.5 to 12.5, and higher specific activity, compared to other GH13_5 fungal α-amylases. Moreover, NFAmy13B did not show activity loss and retained 96% residual activity after pre-incubation at pH 11 for 21 h and pH 12 for 10 h, respectively. Additionally, 1.25 mM Ca2+ significantly improved its thermostability. NFAmy13B showed a synergistic effect on degrading wheat starch with NFAmy13A (GH13_1), another α-amylase from Daqu. Both enzymes could cleave maltotetraose and maltopentaose in same degradation pattern, and only NFAmy13A could efficiently degrade maltotriose. Moreover, NFAmy13B showed higher catalytic efficiency on long-chain starch, while NFAmy13A had higher catalytic efficiency on short-chain maltooligosaccharides. Their different catalytic efficiencies on starch and maltooligosaccharides may be caused by their discrepant substrate-binding region. Conclusions: This study mined a novel GH13_5 fungal α-amylase (NFAmy13B) with outstanding alkali resistance from Nong-flavor (NF) Daqu. Furthermore, its synergistic effect with NFAmy13A (GH13_1) on hydrolyzing wheat starch was confirmed, and their possible contribution in NF Daqu was also speculated. Thus, we not only provide a candidate α-amylase for industry, but also a useful strategy for further studying the interactions in the complex enzyme system of Daqu.

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A biochemical comparison of fungal GH6 cellobiohydrolases.

Christensen, S. J., Krogh, K. B. R. M., Spodsberg, N., Borch, K. & Westh, P. (2019). Biochemical Journal, 476(15), 2157-2172.

Cellobiohydrolases (CBHs) from glycoside hydrolase family 6 (GH6) make up an important part of the secretome in many cellulolytic fungi. They are also of technical interest, particularly because they are part of the enzyme cocktails that are used for the industrial breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass. Nevertheless, functional studies of GH6 CBHs are scarce and focused on a few model enzymes. To elucidate functional breadth among GH6 CBHs, we conducted a comparative biochemical study of seven GH6 CBHs originating from fungi living in different habitats, in addition to one enzyme variant. The enzyme sequences were investigated by phylogenetic analyses to ensure that they were not closely related phylogenetically. The selected enzymes were all heterologously expressed in Aspergillus oryzae, purified and thoroughly characterized biochemically. This approach allowed direct comparisons of functional data, and the results revealed substantial variability. For example, the adsorption capacity on cellulose spanned two orders of magnitude and kinetic parameters, derived from two independent steady-state methods also varied significantly. While the different functional parameters covered wide ranges, they were not independent since they changed in parallel between two poles. One pole was characterized by strong substrate interactions, high adsorption capacity and low turnover number while the other showed weak substrate interactions, poor adsorption and high turnover. The investigated enzymes essentially defined a continuum between these two opposites, and this scaling of functional parameters raises interesting questions regarding functional plasticity and evolution of GH6 CBHs.

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Secretory overexpression of the endoglucanase by Saccharomyces cerevisiae via CRISPR-δ-integration and multiple promoter shuffling.

Sasaki, Y., Mitsui, R., Yamada, R. & Ogino, H. (2019). Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 121, 17-22.

Various recombinant proteins can be produced by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell factories; therefore, efficient recombinant protein production techniques are desirable. In this study, to establish an efficient recombinant protein production technique in S. cerevisiae, the secretory production of recombinant protein endoglucanase II (TrEG) was tested. We developed 2 novel methods for TrEG production via clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) -δ-integration as well as multiple promoter shuffling, which involved the pre-breakdown of the δ-sequence by the CRISPR system and subsequent δ-integration as well as the conjugation of TrEG with various promoters and subsequent δ-integration, respectively. Moreover, simultaneous use of the CRISPR-δ-integration and multiple promoter shuffling methods was also examined. The CRISPR-δ-integration method was effective for improvement of the integrated TrEG copy number and its activity, and the multiple promoter shuffling method was also beneficial for enhancing the transcriptional level of TrEG and its activity. Furthermore, simultaneous use of CRISPR-δ-integration and multiple promoter shuffling methods was the most useful. The carboxymethyl cellulase activity of the TrEG expressing transformant YPH499/24CP constructed by the method reached 559 U/L, and it was 17.3-fold higher than that of the transformant constructed by the conventional YEp type vector. Overall, the simultaneous use of CRISPR-δ-integration and multiple promoter shuffling can be useful and easily applied for recombinant protein production.

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Strain improvement for industrial production of lignocellulolytic enzyme by Talaromyces cellulolyticus.

Fujii, T., Inoue, H., Yano, S. & Sawayama, S. (2018). Fungal Cellulolytic Enzymes, pp. 135-154. Springer, Singapore.

Talaromyces cellulolyticus (formerly known as Acremonium cellulolyticus) is a commercial fungal source used for industrial enzyme production for silage preparation. In this chapter, the development of T. cellulolyticus strains to produce lignocellulolytic enzymes suitable for the hydrolysis of target biomass is reviewed. High-yield production and composition improvements of lignocellulolytic enzymes in T. cellulolyticus have been succeeded by mutagenesis, genetic engineering, and enzyme preparation up to the present date. Recent developments of T. cellulolyticus genetic tools including whole genome sequencing, homologous recombination, marker recycling, RNA interference, genome editing and transcriptional regulation, a concept of core and accessary enzymes, and their utilization for strain improvements will be discussed.

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Cloning, molecular modeling and characterization of acidic cellulase from buffalo rumen and its applicability in saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass.

Dadheech, T., Shah, R., Pandit, R., Hinsu, A., Chauhan, P. S., Jakhesara, S., Kunjadiya, A., Rank, D. & Joshi, C. (2018). International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 113, 73-81.

Cellulase hydrolyses the cellulose by cleaving the β-1,4-linkages to produce mono-, oligo- and shorter polysaccharide units. These enzymes have applications in various industries such as pulp and paper, laundry, food and feed, textile, brewing industry and in biofuel production. In the present study we have cloned acid-cellulase gene (Cel-1) from the fosmid library of buffalo rumen metagenomic DNA and functionally expressed it in Escherichia coli. The ORF encoding cellulase consisted of 1176-bp, corresponding to protein of 391 amino acid and has catalytic domain belonging to glycosyl hydrolase family 5. The purified protein has a molecular weight of 43-kDa on SDS-PAGE and its expression was confirmed by western blotting. The tertiary structure of the cellulase (Cel-1) showed a classical (α/β) TIM-like barrel motif. Model surface charge of Cel-1 predicted that surface near active site was mostly negative which might be responsible for the stability of enzyme at lower pH. The pH and temperature for maximum enzyme activity were 4.5 and 45°C respectively. Various metal ions enhanced the enzyme activity and in presence of Mn+2 activity was significantly increased. Cel-1 hydrolyzed pre-treated wheat straw and released reducing sugars (62.60%). These desirable properties of Cel-1 make it attractive for the bioconversion of biomass.

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Exo‐exo synergy between Cel6A and Cel7A from Hypocrea jecorina: Role of carbohydrate binding module and the endo‐lytic character of the enzymes.

Badino, S. F., Christensen, S. J., Kari, J., Windahl, M. S., Hvidt, S., Borch, K. & Westh, P. (2017). Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 9999: 1–9.

Synergy between cellulolytic enzymes is essential in both natural and industrial breakdown of biomass. In addition to synergy between endo- and exo-lytic enzymes, a lesser known but equally conspicuous synergy occurs among exo-acting, processive cellobiohydrolases (CBHs) such as Cel7A and Cel6A from Hypocrea jecorina. We studied this system using microcrystalline cellulose as substrate and found a degree of synergy between 1.3 and 2.2 depending on the experimental conditions. Synergy between enzyme variants without the carbohydrate binding module (CBM) and its linker was strongly reduced compared to the wild types. One plausible interpretation of this is that exo-exo synergy depends on the targeting role of the CBM. Many earlier works have proposed that exo-exo synergy was caused by an auxiliary endo-lytic activity of Cel6A. However, biochemical data from different assays suggested that the endo-lytic activity of both Cel6A and Cel7A were 103–104 times lower than the common endoglucanase, Cel7B, from the same organism. Moreover, the endo-lytic activity of Cel7A was 2–3-fold higher than for Cel6A, and we suggest that endo-like activity of Cel6A cannot be the main cause for the observed synergy. Rather, we suggest the exo-exo synergy found here depends on different specificities of the enzymes possibly governed by their CBMs.

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Aspergillus hancockii sp. nov., a biosynthetically talented fungus endemic to southeastern Australian soils.

Pitt, J. I., Lange, L., Lacey, A. E., Vuong, D., Midgley, D. J., Greenfield, P., Bradbury, M. I., Lacey, E., Busk, P. K., Pilgaard, B., Chooi, Y. H. & Piggott, A. M. (2017). PloS One, 12(4), e0170254.

Aspergillus hancockii sp. nov., classified in Aspergillus subgenus Circumdati section Flavi, was originally isolated from soil in peanut fields near Kumbia, in the South Burnett region of southeast Queensland, Australia, and has since been found occasionally from other substrates and locations in southeast Australia. It is phylogenetically and phenotypically related most closely to A. leporis States and M. Chr., but differs in conidial colour, other minor features and particularly in metabolite profile. When cultivated on rice as an optimal substrate, A. hancockii produced an extensive array of 69 secondary metabolites. Eleven of the 15 most abundant secondary metabolites, constituting 90% of the total area under the curve of the HPLC trace of the crude extract, were novel. The genome of A. hancockii, approximately 40 Mbp, was sequenced and mined for genes encoding carbohydrate degrading enzymes identified the presence of more than 370 genes in 114 gene clusters, demonstrating that A. hancockii has the capacity to degrade cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin, starch, chitin, cutin and fructan as nutrient sources. Like most Aspergillus species, A. hancockii exhibited a diverse secondary metabolite gene profile, encoding 26 polyketide synthase, 16 nonribosomal peptide synthase and 15 nonribosomal peptide synthase-like enzymes.

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Metatranscriptomics Reveals the Functions and Enzyme Profiles of the Microbial Community in Chinese Nong-Flavor Liquor Starter.

Huang, Y., Yi, Z., Jin, Y., Huang, M., He, K., Liu, D., Luo, H., Zhao, D., He, H., Fang, Y. & Zhao, H. (2017). Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, 1747.

Chinese liquor is one of the world's best-known distilled spirits and is the largest spirit category by sales. The unique and traditional solid-state fermentation technology used to produce Chinese liquor has been in continuous use for several thousand years. The diverse and dynamic microbial community in a liquor starter is the main contributor to liquor brewing. However, little is known about the ecological distribution and functional importance of these community members. In this study, metatranscriptomics was used to comprehensively explore the active microbial community members and key transcripts with significant functions in the liquor starter production process. Fungi were found to be the most abundant and active community members. A total of 932 carbohydrate-active enzymes, including highly expressed auxiliary activity family 9 and 10 proteins, were identified at 62°C under aerobic conditions. Some potential thermostable enzymes were identified at 50, 62, and 25°C (mature stage). Increased content and overexpressed key enzymes involved in glycolysis and starch, pyruvate and ethanol metabolism were detected at 50 and 62°C. The key enzymes of the citrate cycle were up-regulated at 62°C, and their abundant derivatives are crucial for flavor generation. Here, the metabolism and functional enzymes of the active microbial communities in NF liquor starter were studied, which could pave the way to initiate improvements in liquor quality and to discover microbes that produce novel enzymes or high-value added products.

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Characterization of a new oxidant-stable serine protease isolated by functional metagenomics.

Biver, S., Portetelle, D. & Vandenbol, M. (2013). SpringerPlus, 2(1), 410.

A novel serine protease gene, SBcas3.3, was identified by functional screening of a forest-soil metagenomic library on agar plates supplemented with AZCL-casein. Overproduction in Escherichia coli revealed that the enzyme is produced as a 770-amino-acid precursor which is processed to a mature protease of ~55 kDa. The latter was purified by affinity chromatography for characterization with the azocasein substrate. The enzyme proved to be an alkaline protease showing maximal activity between pH 9 and 10 and at 50°C. Treatment with the chelating agent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid irreversibly denatured the protease, whose stability was found to depend strictly on calcium ions. The enzyme appeared relatively resistant to denaturing and reducing agents, and its activity was enhanced in the presence of 10 ml/l nonionic detergent (Tween 20, Tween 80, or Triton X-100). Moreover, SBcas3.3 displayed oxidant stability, a feature particularly sought in the detergent and bleaching industries. SBcas3.3 was activated by hydrogen peroxide at concentrations up to 10 g/l and it still retained 30% of activity in 50 g/l H2O2.

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Rationally selected single‐site mutants of the Thermoascus aurantiacus endoglucanase increase hydrolytic activity on cellulosic substrates.

Srikrishnan, S., Randall, A., Baldi, P. & Da Silva, N. A. (2012). Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 109(6), 1595-1599.

Variants of the Thermoascus aurantiacus Eg1 enzyme with higher catalytic efficiency than wild-type were obtained via site-directed mutagenesis. Using a rational mutagenesis approach based on structural bioinformatics and evolutionary analysis, two positions (F16S and Y95F) were identified as priority sites for mutagenesis. The mutant and parent enzymes were expressed and secreted from Pichia pastoris and the single site mutants F16S and Y95F showed 1.7- and 4.0-fold increases in Kcat and 1.5- and 2.5-fold improvements in hydrolytic activity on cellulosic substrates, respectively, while maintaining thermostability. Similar to the parent enzyme, the two variants were active between pH 4.0 and 8.0 and showed optimal activity at temperature 70°C at pH 5.0. The purified enzymes were active at 50°C for over 12 h and retained at least 80% of initial activity for 2 h at 70°C. In contrast to the improved hydrolysis seen with the single mutation enzymes, no improvement was observed with a third variant carrying a combination of both mutations, which instead showed a 60% reduction in catalytic efficiency. This work further demonstrates that non-catalytic amino acid residues can be engineered to enhance catalytic efficiency in pretreatment enzymes of interest.

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A novel antifungal Pseudomonas fluorescens isolated from potato soils in Greenland.

Michelsen, C. F. & Stougaard, P. (2011). Current Microbiology, 62(4), 1185-1192.

A rhizobacterium with high antifungal activity was isolated from a potato field at Inneruulalik, South Greenland. Phylogenetic analysis based on multi locus sequence typing showed that the bacterium was affiliated with strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens. The bacterium, denoted as Pseudomonas fluorescens In5, inhibited in vitro a broad range of phytopathogenic fungi, and the antifungal activity increased with decreasing temperature. Microcosm experiments demonstrated that P. fluorescens In5 protected tomato seedlings from Rhizoctonia solani. Transposon mutagenesis showed that the major cause for the antifungal activity of P. fluorescens In5 was a novel non-ribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) gene. In addition, transposon mutagenesis showed that P. fluorescens In5 also contained a putative quinoprotein glucose dehydrogenase gene, which was involved in growth inhibition of phytopathogenic fungi. Although P. fluorescens In5 contained the capacity to synthesize hydrogen cyanide, β-1,3-glucanase, protease, and chitinase, these did not seem to play a role in the in vitro and microcosm antifungal assays.

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Digestive enzyme spectra in crustacean decapods (Paleomonidae, Portunidae and Penaeidae) feeding in the natural habitat.

Figueiredo, M. S. R. B. & Anderson, A. J. (2009). Aquaculture Research, 40(3), 282-291.

This work describes the profile of five proteases and four carbohydrases from the crustacean decapods Macrobrachium australiense (Holthuis), Scylla serrata (Forskal), Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus), Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus plebejus (Hess) and Metapenaeus bennettae (Racck & Dall), feeding in the natural habitat, in order to provide an indication of their digestive capabilities. The results raised the following points. First, species from each family showed a particular suite of digestive enzymes. Second, the activity of cellulase from M. australiensis and S. serrata, using AZCL-HE cellulose as the substrate, was around 90% higher than that observed with AZO-CM cellulose. However, for P. pelagicus and P. esculentus, the enzyme activity was better with AZO-CM cellulose. Third, M. australiense displayed the highest ratio of amylase to protease activity. In contrast, Portunidae species, P. pelagicus and S. serrata showed the lowest ratios. Fourth, comparison of the laminarinase activity of M. bennettae and P. esculentus in October (Spring) and December (early Summer) showed a significant decrease in December. Finally, the wide distribution of digestive enzymes in these crustaceans may reflect different feeding habits and habitats.

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Towards a molecular understanding of symbiont function: identification of a fungal gene for the degradation of xylan in the fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants.

Schiøtt, M., Licht, H. H. D. F., Lange, L. & Boomsma, J. J. (2008). BMC Microbiology, 8(1), 40.

Background: Leaf-cutting ants live in symbiosis with a fungus that they rear for food by providing it with live plant material. Until recently the fungus' main inferred function was to make otherwise inaccessible cell wall degradation products available to the ants, but new studies have shed doubt on this idea. To provide evidence for the cell wall degrading capacity of the attine ant symbiont, we designed PCR primers from conserved regions of known xylanase genes, to be used in PCR with genomic DNA from the symbiont as template. We also measured xylanase, cellulase and proteinase activities in the fungus gardens in order to investigate the dynamics of degradation activities. Results: We cloned a xylanase gene from the mutualistic fungus of Acromyrmex echinatior, determined its protein sequence, and inserted it in a yeast expression vector to confirm its substrate specificity. Our results show that the fungus has a functional xylanase gene. We also show by lab experiments in vivo that the activity of fungal xylanase and cellulase is not evenly distributed, but concentrated in the lower layer of fungus gardens, with only modest activity in the middle layer where gongylidia are produced and intermediate activity in the newly established top layer. This vertical distribution appears to be negatively correlated with the concentration of glucose, which indicates a directly regulating role of glucose, as has been found in other fungi and has been previously suggested for the ant fungal symbiont. Conclusion: The mutualistic fungus of Acromyrmex echinatior has a functional xylanase gene and is thus presumably able to at least partially degrade the cell walls of leaves. This finding supports a saprotrophic origin of the fungal symbiont. The observed distribution of enzyme activity leads us to propose that leaf-substrate degradation in fungus gardens is a multi-step process comparable to normal biodegradation of organic matter in soil ecosystems, but with the crucial difference that a single fungal symbiont realizes most of the steps that are normally provided by a series of microorganisms that colonize fallen leaves in a distinct succession.

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Influence of dietary protein on digestive enzyme activity, growth and tail muscle composition in redclaw crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens).

Pavasovic, A., Anderson, A. J., Mather, P. B. & Richardson, N. A. (2007). Aquaculture Research, 38(6), 644-652.

This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary protein on digestive enzyme profiles, growth and tail muscle composition in the freshwater redclaw crayfish, Cherax quadricarinatus. Crayfish were fed five diets that consisted of a commercial crayfish pellet and experimental diets containing 13%, 18%, 25% or 32% crude protein (CP), for a period of 12 weeks. Analysis of digestive enzyme profiles from the midgut gland (MG) revealed a positive correlation between protease, amylase and cellulase activities and dietary protein level. For all treatments, carbohydrase activity levels (cellulase and amylase) were significantly higher than those detected for protease. As dietary protein was elevated, there was a general increase in specific growth rate (SGR), with the highest SGR (0.58 ± 0.06) values observed in crayfish fed the diet containing 25% CP. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) ranged between 5.84 and 6.97 and did not differ significantly among the treatment groups including the reference diet, with the exception of the low-protein diet (13% CP) which showed an FCR of 9.31. Finally, regression analysis revealed a strong positive correlation between the level of dietary protein and CP content in the tail muscle (P=0.004; r2) =0.99).

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Characterization of the Erwinia chrysanthemi gan locus, involved in Galactan catabolism.

Delangle, A., Prouvost, A. F., Cogez, V., Bohin, J. P., Lacroix, J. M. & Cotte-Pattat, N. H. (2007). Journal of Bacteriology, 189(19), 7053-7061.

β-1,4-Galactan is a major component of the ramified regions of pectin. Analysis of the genome of the plant pathogenic bacteria Erwinia chrysanthemi revealed the presence of a cluster of eight genes encoding proteins potentially involved in galactan utilization. The predicted transport system would comprise a specific porin GanL and an ABC transporter made of four proteins, GanFGK2. Degradation of galactans would be catalyzed by the periplasmic 1,4-β-endogalactanase GanA, which released oligogalactans from trimer to hexamer. After their transport through the inner membrane, oligogalactans would be degraded into galactose by the cytoplasmic 1,4-β-exogalactanase GanB. Mutants affected for the porin or endogalactanase were unable to grow on galactans, but they grew on galactose and on a mixture of galactotriose, galactotetraose, galactopentaose, and galactohexaose. Mutants affected for the periplasmic galactan binding protein, the transporter ATPase, or the exogalactanase were only able to grow on galactose. Thus, the phenotypes of these mutants confirmed the functionality of the gan locus in transport and catabolism of galactans. These mutations did not affect the virulence of E. chrysanthemi on chicory leaves, potato tubers, or Saintpaulia ionantha, suggesting an accessory role of galactan utilization in the bacterial pathogeny.

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A comparative study of cellulase and xylanase activity in freshwater crayfish and marine prawns.

Crawford, A. C., Richardson, N. R. & Mather, P. B. (2005). Aquaculture Research, 36(6), 586-592.

Cellulase and xylanase digestive enzyme activities were compared in four freshwater crayfish (Genus Cherax) and three marine prawn (Genus Penaeus) species. Temperature and pH profiles for cellulase (endoglucanase) were found to be very similar in all species, with maximum activity occurring at 60°C and pH 5.0. Temperature and pH profiles for xylanase (endoxylanase) were also very similar in all crayfish species, with maximum activity occurring at 50°C and pH 5.0. Xylanase activity was not detected in the three prawn species examined. In addition, in vitro studies showed that most species were able to liberate glucose from carboxymethyl cellulose, indicating that cellulose substrates can be a source of energy for both crayfish and prawn species.

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Glycogen (Algae)
6-Galactosyllactose O-GLAC6
Polygalacturonic Acid Citrus Pectin P-PGACIT
Polygalacturonic Acid (from Citrus Pectin)
Isoamylase Flavobacterium odoratum E-ISAMYFO
Isoamylase (Glycogen 6-glucanohydrolase) (Flavobacterium odoratum)