Bioprospecting of xylanase producing fungal strains: Multilocus phylogenetic analysis and enzyme activity profiling
J Basic Microbiol. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1002/jobm.202100408. Online ahead of print.
The study aims to explore potential xylanase-producing indigenous fungi isolated from soil and vegetable wastes containing plant degraded matter, reporting multilocus phylogenetic analysis and xylanase enzyme activity from selective strains. Four potential xylanolytic fungi were identified through distinct primary and secondary screening of 294 isolates obtained from the samples. Morphological characterization and multigene analysis (ITS rDNA, 18S rDNA, LSU rDNA, β-tubulin, and actin gene) confirmed them as Aspergillus sp. AUMS56, Aspergillus tubingensis AUMS60 and AUMS64, and Aspergillus fumigatus AUKEMS24; achieving crude xylanase activities (through submerged fermentation using corn cobs) of 18.9, 32.29, 30.68, and 15.82 U ml-1 , respectively. AUMS60 and AUMS64 (forming lineage with A. tubingensis and Aspergillus niger in the same phylogroup with 100% Bayesian posterior probability support) secreted single xylanase (Xyn60; 36 kDa) and multiple xylanases (Xyn64A and Xyn64B; 33.4 and 19.8 kDa) respectively, having pH optima of 6.0 and exhibiting maximal activity at 60°C. These enzymes were highly stable at 40°C (120 h) and retained more than 70% activity at 50°C and at pH 5-6 (upon 72 h incubation). Our analysis suggested these enzymes to be endoxylanases demonstrating substrate hydrolysis within 15 min of reaction and maximum efficiency of xylanases from AUMS60 and AUMS64 achieving 51.1% (13 h) and 52.2% (24 h) saccharification, respectively. They also showed enhanced catalytic activity with various cations. Based on our investigation on xylan hydrolysis, we believe that these xylanases may find significant industrial applications as they have a real potential of working as a bio-catalytic cocktail (patent file number: IN E1/38213/2020-DEL) for the enhanced saccharification of lignocelluloses.