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J Microbiol. 2012 Dec;50(6):1009-13. doi: 10.1007/s12275-012-2130-5. Epub 2012 Dec 30.

Characterization of cellulases of fungal endophytes isolated from Espeletia spp.

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Laboratorio de Micología y Fitopatología, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.


Endophytes are microorganisms that asymptomatically invade plant tissues. They can stimulate plant growth and/or provide defense against pathogen attacks through the production of secondary metabolites. Most endophyte species are still unknown, and because they may have several applications, the study of their metabolic capabilities is essential. We characterized 100 endophytes isolated from Espeletia spp., a genus unique to the paramo ecosystem, an extreme environment in the Andean mountain range. We evaluated the cellulolytic potential of these endophytes on the saccharification of the oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). The total cellulolytic activity was measured for each endophyte on filter paper (FPA). In addition, the specific carboxymethyl cellulase (CMCase), exoglucanase, and β-glucosidase activities were determined. We found four fungi positive for cellulases. Of these fungi, Penicillium glabrum had the highest cellulolytic activity after partial purification, with maximal CMCase, exoglucanase and β-glucosidase enzyme activities of 44.5, 48.3, and 0.45 U/ml, respectively. Our data showed that the bioprospection of fungi and the characterization of their enzymes may facilitate the process of biofuel production.

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