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J Biol Inorg Chem. 2007 Sep;12(7):1055-61. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Enhanced hydroxyl radical production by dihydroxybenzene-driven Fenton reactions: implications for wood biodegradation.

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  • 1Faculty of Chemical Sciences, University of Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile.


Brown rot fungi degrade wood, in initial stages, mainly through hydroxyl radicals (.OH) produced by Fenton reactions. These Fenton reactions can be promoted by dihydroxybenzenes (DHBs), which can chelate and reduce Fe(III), increasing the reactivity for different substrates. This mechanism allows the extensive degradation of carbohydrates and the oxidation of lignin during wood biodegradation by brown rot fungi. To understand the enhanced reactivity in these systems, kinetics experiments were carried out, measuring .OH formation by the spin-trapping technique of electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. As models of the fungal DHBs, 1,2-dihydroxybenzene (catechol), 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid and 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid were utilized as well as 1,2-dihydroxy-3,5-benzenedisulfonate as a non-Fe(III)-reducing substance for comparison. Higher amounts and maintained concentrations of .OH were observed in the driven Fenton reactions versus the unmodified Fenton process. A linear correlation between the logarithms of complex stability constants and the .OH production was observed, suggesting participation of such complexes in the radical production.

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