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Rhodes University (2003)

Enzymes with biocatalytic potential from Sorghum bicolor

Nganwa, Patience Jennifer Kengyeya

Titre : Enzymes with biocatalytic potential from Sorghum bicolor

Auteur : Nganwa, Patience Jennifer Kengyeya

Université : Rhodes University

Grade : Master of Science 2000

Sorghum is a staple food in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, sustaining the lives of the poorest rural people. This project set out to improve the potential economic value of Sorghum bicolor as a crop. The task was undertaken by screening for selected enzymes in the plant that would have a potential market for use in industrial applications and in biotransformations, specifically proteases, polyphenol oxidases and peroxidases. Asurveywas conducted using standard enzyme assays and crude plant extracts, to determine whether the selected enzymes were present. Grain tissue did not appear to have significant protease or polyphenoloxidase activity, but high levels of peroxidases were detected, withthe young grain extracts showing more activity(4.63U/mL)thanripegrain extracts (0.62 U/mL). Leaf tissue extracts contained low levels of protease activity, a considerable amount of polyphenol oxidase (0.127 U/mL), and peroxidase (4.7 U/mL) activities comparable with that found in grain tissue. Root tissue extract was found to contain the highest levels of peroxidase activity (7.8 U/mL) compared to the other extracts. Therefore, sorghum peroxidase from the root was isolated, purified, characterized and applied to biotransformation reactions. Different sorghum strains,withvaryinggraincolour, (Zimbabwe - bronze, Seredo - brown and Epurpur - cream/white) were investigated for the presence of polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activities. Results of spectrophotometric analysis showed that the enzymes did not appear to be strain specific. However, gel electrophoresis analysis revealed differences in band patterns among the strains. Partial purification of sorghum root peroxidase was achieved after centrifugation, extraction with polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP), ultrafiltration, and hydrophobic chromatography with phenyl Sepharose, followed by polyacrylamidegelelectrophoresis (PAGE). The specific activity of the 5-fold purified enzyme was found to be 122.3 U/mg. After PAGE analysis, two bands with molecular weights of approximately 30 000 and 40 000 were detected, which compares well with horse radish peroxidase (HRP) which has a molecular weight of approximately 44 000. The colour intensity of the bands in the activity gels indicated that sorghum root peroxidase had apparently higher levels of peroxidase activity than commercial horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Characterizationexperiments revealed that sorghumroot peroxidase is active over a broad temperature range and remains active at temperatures up to 100°C. It also has a broad substrate range. The optimum pH of the enzyme was found to be pH 5 - 6. Under standardized assay conditions, the optimal substrate concentration, using o-dianisidine as substrate, was 50 mM, and the optimal H2O2 concentration under these conditions was found to be 100 mM. Sorghum root peroxidase was applied in a preliminary investigation into the oxidative biotransformationof a number of aromatic compounds. The products obtained were comparable withthose whenthe compounds are reacted with HRP which is the most commonly used commercial peroxidase and has been extensively studied. However, HRP is relatively costly, and the use of peroxidase from sorghum roots as an alternative source, appears to be promising. A patent has been provisionally registered, covering application of sorghum root peroxidase for biotransformations.

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