Intraspecific comparison of Phanerochaete chrysosporium strains : peroxidase production, pollutant degradation and mycelial differentiation

Fraser, Sheena Janet (2005) Intraspecific comparison of Phanerochaete chrysosporium strains : peroxidase production, pollutant degradation and mycelial differentiation. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




The wood-degrading basidiomycete, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, has been studied as a model organism in elucidating the mechanisms and pathways enabling this white-rot fungus to degrade recalcitrant lignin. These same mechanisms are implicated in the mineralisation of environmentally persistent, toxic phenolic chemicals. For this reason, P. chrysosporium has been exploited in a number of environmentally sound technologies, including the degradation of the indigestible lignin component in agricultural waste for the generation of digestible animal feedstocks or high sugar content raw materials for ethanol production; brightening processes in the pulp and paper industry; the detoxification and decolourisation of industrial effluents; and the bioremediation of hazardous waste sites. The improvement of these technologies is dependant on ongoing research involving strain selection, strain development using genetic engineering approaches and process development. Strain improvement using non-recombinant methods is beneficial in that it does not limit the inherent robustness observed amongst natural variants. In this research, through a breeding programme, ten P.chrysosporium sibling strains were screened for variable ligninase activities and pollutant degradation capabilities in order to further describe previously identified differences between these organisms. A conventional stationary liquid culture technique was effectively miniaturised from 10 ml flask cultures to a 96-well microtitre plate format, for the assessment of multigenic traits amongst sibling strains. Using the 96-well microtitre plate method, the relationships between P. chrysosporium growth kinetics, peroxidase production, pollutant sensitivity and pollutant degradation was explored. Significant correlations were primarily associated with P. chrysosporium growth [P < 0.05]. Percentage p-cresol removal and tannic acid tolerance were both correlated with a shorter lag phase in growth [tannic acid: r = 0.7698, P < 0.05; p-cresol: r = 0.7584, P < 0.05] and lower stationary phase biomass levels [tannic acid: r = 0.8177, P < 0.05; p-cresol: r = 0.7803, P < 0.05]. A significant correlation (linear relationship) was also detected between percentage Poly-R478 decolourisation and time of onset of MnP [r = 0.9689, P < 0.001]. No correlation was observed between dye decolourisation, p-cresol degradation, lignin degradation and lignin peroxidase (LiP) or manganese peroxidase (MnP) activities [P > 0.05]. These results imply that differences in the biosynthetic pathways for biomass accumulation in sibling strains play a significant role in the intraspecific variation observed in pollutant sensitivity, pollutant degradation, and enzyme production. Categorical analysis of intraspecific differences was assessed according to four criterions. These included growth, extracellular peroxidase activities, tolerance to toxic pollutants and the biodegradation of model pollutants. Sibling strains showing the most variable responses in three or more of the selective criterion were recommended for further studies. These strains include P. chrysosporium ME446, BS 2.52, BS 13, BS 17, BS 18, and BS 24. Interestingly, BS 2.52 (a dikaryotic strain generating from the crossing of two haploid progeny) showed significantly lower degradation capabilities than the wildtype parent strain ME446. The inherited variability observed between sibling strains is to be further explored through proteome and transcriptome analysis and genetic linkage studies aimed at describing the mechanisms or pathways conferring tolerance to or degradation of environmental pollutants. In examining fewer organisms at this next level, the number of replicates examined can be increased and thus the power of detection of experimental procedures improved, enabling the detection of multigenic traits amongst genetically related organisms. Growth was shown to play a significant role in the intraspecific differences detected in pollutant sensitivity and degradation between sibling strains. Little is known about the mechanism of growth and differentiation, or the role of differentiation in regulating the lignolytic activity in this organism. The membrane gradostat bioreactor and a unique plug-flow membrane bioreactor were evaluated as novel tools with which to further explore the relationship between secondary metabolism, pollutant degradation and biofilm development in sibling strains. High yield MnP production at levels as high as 1478.8 U.l-1 was achieved using a laboratory scale membrane gradostat bioreactor. Furthermore, extensive mycelial differentiation and tissue formation are reported for P. chrysosporium in both the membrane gradostat bioreactor and plug-flow membrane bioreactor. Intraspecific differences in the extent of this differentiation were observed in strains ME446, BS 13, BS 17 and BS 26 cultured using the membrane gradostat bioreactor, highlighting the potential of these techniques as a platform for future strain improvement strategies.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Phanerochaete, Pollutants, Peroxidase, Fungi, Lignin, Bioremediation
Subjects:T Technology > TP Chemical technology > Biotechnology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
ID Code:2504
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:28 Feb 2012 10:19
Last Modified:28 Feb 2012 10:19
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