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    Author(s): Daniel J. Yelle; John Ralph; Fachuang Lu; Kenneth E. Hammel
    Date: 2008
    Source: Environmental microbiology. Vol. 10, no. 7 (2008): Pages 1844-1849
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (532 KB)


    Biodegradation by brown-rot fungi is quantitatively one of the most important fates of lignocellulose in nature. It has long been thought that these basidiomycetes do not degrade lignin significantly, and that their activities on this abundant aromatic biopolymer are limited to minor oxidative modifications. Here we have applied a new technique for the complete solubilization of lignocellulose to show, by one-bond 1H-13C correlation nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, that brown rot of spruce wood by Gloeophyllum trabeum resulted in a marked, non-selective depletion of all intermonomer side-chain linkages in the lignin. The resulting polymer retained most of its original aromatic residues and was probably interconnected by new linkages that lack hydrogens and are consequently invisible in one-bond 1H-13C correlation spectra. Additional work is needed to characterize these linkages, but it is already clear that the aromatic polymer remaining after extensive brown rot is no longer recognizable as lignin.

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    Yelle, Daniel J.; Ralph, John; Lu, Fachuang; Hammel, Kenneth E. 2008. Evidence for cleavage of lignin by a brown rot basidiomycete. Environmental Microbiology. 10(7): 1844-1849.


    Biopolymers, lignocellulose, brown rot, fungi, industrial applications, wood-decaying fungi, biotechnology, biodegradation, deterioration, Basidiomycetes, spruce, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, lignin, cleavage, decay fungi, decay, Gloeophyllum trabeum

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