Bacterial enzymes involved in lignin degradation

Gonzalo de Gonzalo, Dana I Colpa, Mohamed H M Habib, Marco W Fraaije

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Lignin forms a large part of plant biomass. It is a highly heterogeneous polymer of 4-hydroxyphenylpropanoid units and is embedded within polysaccharide polymers forming lignocellulose. Lignin provides strength and rigidity to plants and is rather resilient towards degradation. To improve the (bio)processing of lignocellulosic feedstocks, more effective degradation methods of lignin are in demand. Nature has found ways to fully degrade lignin through the production of dedicated ligninolytic enzyme systems. While such enzymes have been well thoroughly studied for ligninolytic fungi, only in recent years biochemical studies on bacterial enzymes capable of lignin modification have intensified. This has revealed several types of enzymes available to bacteria that enable them to act on lignin. Two major classes of bacterial lignin-modifying enzymes are DyP-type peroxidases and laccases. Yet, recently also several other bacterial enzymes have been discovered that seem to play a role in lignin modifications. In the present review, we provide an overview of recent advances in the identification and use of bacterial enzymes acting on lignin or lignin-derived products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 17-Aug-2016


  • Lignin degradation
  • DyP
  • Peroxidases
  • Laccases
  • Dioxygenases

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