Enzyme Microb Technol. 2022 Jun 8;160:110075. doi: 10.1016/j.enzmictec.2022.110075. Online ahead of print.
Konjac glucomannan (KGM) is a principal component of the gelatinous food Konjac. Konjac production through alkali treatment releases an undesirable amine-odor. Two acetylesterases (AME1 and AME2) active against konjac glucomannan (polymer or oligomer) were purified from the supernatant of Aspergillus oryzae RIB40 culture. We cloned the genes encoding AME1 and AME2 based on the genomic information of A. oryzae, constructed their expression systems in A. oryzae, and obtained the recombinant enzymes (rAME1 and rAME2). rAME1 did not act on the KGM polymer but only on the KGM oligomer, releasing approximately 60% of the acetic acid in the substrate. However, rAME2 was active against both KGM substrates, releasing approximately 80% and 100% of acetic acid from the polymer and oligomer, respectively. Both enzymes were active against xylan and exhibited a trace activity on ethyl ferulate. The acetyl group position specificities of both enzymes were analyzed via heteronuclear single quantum correlation NMR using oligosaccharides of glucomannan prepared from Aloe vera (AGM), which has a higher acetyl group content than KGM. rAME1 acted specifically on single-substituted acetyl groups and not on double-substituted ones. In contrast, rAME2 appeared to act on all the acetyl groups in AGM. Treatment of 3% KGM with rAME2 followed by heating to 90 °C resulted in gel formation under weakly acidic conditions. This is the first study to induce gelation of KGM under these conditions. A comparison of the breaking and brittleness properties of gels formed by alkaline and enzymatic treatments revealed similar texture of the two gels. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy of the surface structure of both gels revealed that both formed a fine mesh structure. Our findings on enzymatic gelation of KGM should lead to the development of new applications in food manufacturing industry.