Journal article Open Access

Investigation of Abortiporus biennis lignocellulolytic toolbox, and the role of laccases in polystyrene degradation

Anastasia Zerva; Romanos Siaperas; George Taxeidis; Maria Kyriakidi; Stamina Vouyiouka; George Zervakis; Evangelos Topakas

White-rot basidiomycetes are the only microorganisms able to produce both hydrolytic (cellulases and hemicellulases) and oxidative (ligninolytic) enzymes for degrading all lignocellulose constituents. Their enzymatic machinery makes them ideal for the discovery of novel enzymes with desirable properties. In the present work, Abortiporus biennis, a white-rot fungus, was studied in regard to its lignocellulolytic potential. Secretomics and biochemical analyses were employed to study the strain’s enzymatic arsenal, after growth in corn stover cultures and xylose-based defined media. The results revealed the presence of all the necessary enzymatic activities for complete breakdown of biomass, while the prominent role of oxidative enzymes in the lignocellulolytic strategy of the strain became evident. Two novel laccases, AbiLac1 and AbiLac2, were isolated from the culture supernatant with ion-exchange chromatography. Characterization of purified laccases revealed their ability to oxidize a wide variety of phenolic and non-phenolic substrates. AbiLac1 was found to oxidize polystyrene powder, showing high depolymerization potential, based on radical chain scission mechanism as evidenced by molecular weight decrease. The results of the present study demonstrate the biotechnological potential of the unexplored enzymatic machinery of white-rot basidiomycetes, including the design of improved lignocellulolytic cocktails, as well as the degradation and/or valorization of plastic waste materials.

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