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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988 Dec;54(12):3086-91.

Laccase-mediated detoxification of phenolic compounds.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.


The ability of a polyphenoloxidase, the laccase of the fungus Rhizoctonia praticola, to detoxify phenolic pollutants was examined. The growth of the fungus could be inhibited by phenolic compounds, and the effective concentration was dependent on the substituents of the phenol. A toxic amount of a phenolic compound was added to a fungal growth medium in the presence or absence of a naturally occurring phenol, and half of the replicates also received laccase. The medium was then inoculated with R. praticola, and the levels of phenols in the medium were monitored by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. The addition of the laccase reversed the inhibitory effect of 2,6-xylenol, 4-chloro-2-methylphenol, and p-cresol. Other compounds, e.g., o-cresol and 2,4-dichlorophenol, were detoxified only when laccase was used in conjunction with a natural phenol such as syringic acid. The toxicity of p-chlorophenol and 2,4,5-trichlorophenol could not be overcome by any additions. The ability of the laccase to alter the toxicity of the phenols appeared to be related to the capacity of the enzyme to decrease the levels of the parent compound by transformation or cross-coupling with another phenol.

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