Starch-degrading enzymes from the brown-rot fungus Fomitopsis palustris


Brown-rot fungi preferentially degrade softwood and cause severe breakdown of wooden structures. At the initial stage of the brown-rot decay, penetrating hyphae of the fungi are observed in ray parenchyma. Since starch grains are known to be present in the ray parenchyma of sapwood, investigation of the functions and roles of the starch-degrading enzymes is important to understand the initial stage of brown-rot decay. We purified and characterized two starch-degrading enzymes, an α-amylase (FpAmy13A) and a glucoamylase (FpGLA15A), from the brown-rot fungus, Fomitopsis palustris, and cloned the corresponding genes. The optimal temperature for both enzymes was 60 °C. FpAmy13A showed higher activity at a broad range of pH from 2.0 to 5.0, whereas FpGLA15A was most active at pH 5.0–6.0. Notable thermal stability was found for FpGLA15A. Approximately 25% of the activity remained even after treatment at 100 °C for 30 min in sodium phosphate buffer at pH 7.0. These different characteristics imply the different roles of these enzymes in the starch degradation of wood.