Degradation of different pectins by fungi:correlations and contrasts between the pectinolytic enzyme sets identified in genomes and the growth on pectins of different origin

I. Benoit, P.M. Coutinho, H.A. Schols, G.F. Gerlach, B. Henrissat, R.P. de Vries

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Background: Pectins are diverse and very complex biomolecules and their structure depends on the plant speciesand tissue. It was previously shown that derivatives of pectic polymers and oligosaccharides from pectins havepositive effects on human health. To obtain specific pectic oligosaccharides, highly defined enzymatic mixes arerequired. Filamentous fungi are specialized in plant cell wall degradation and some produce a broad range ofpectinases. They may therefore shed light on the enzyme mixes needed for partial hydrolysis.Results: The growth profiles of 12 fungi on four pectins and four structural elements of pectins show that thepresence/absence of pectinolytic genes in the fungal genome clearly correlates with their ability to degradepectins. However, this correlation is less clear when we zoom in to the pectic structural elements.Conclusions: This study highlights the complexity of the mechanisms involved in fungal degradation of complexcarbon sources such as pectins. Mining genomes and comparative genomics are promising first steps towards theproduction of specific pectinolytic fractions.
Original languageDutch
Article number321
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • aspergillus-niger
  • rhizopus-oryzae
  • podospora-anserina
  • trichoderma-reesei
  • sequence
  • protein
  • nidulans
  • acid
  • homogalacturonan
  • tryptoquivaline

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