Degradation of feruloylated oligosaccharides from sugar-beet pulp and wheat bran by ferulic acid esterases from Aspergillus niger

Marie Christine Ralet, Craig B. Faulds, Gary Williamson, Jean François Thibault

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The activity of two forms of ferulic acid esterase (FAE) from Aspergillus niger on a synthetic feruloylated substrate (methyl ferulate) and on 11 different feruloylated oligosaccharides from sugar-beet pulp and wheat bran was determined. The enzymes exhibited different specificities for the various feruloylated substrates and were more active on certain substrates of cell-wall origin than on methyl ferulate. Both enzymes preferred the arabinose residue to which ferulic acid is attached in the furanose form. FAE-1 had no clear preference for the type of linkage involved between the ferulic acid units and the oligosaccharide chain. In contrast, FAE-III had a clear requirement for ferulic acid to be attached to O-5 of the Ara f ring while no catalysis was observed when ferulic acid was attached to O-2. Both enzymes showed maximum activity on feruloylated trisaccharides. An increase in the length of the oligosaccharide chain did not preclude catalysis, but feruloylated oligosaccharides of a dp > 3 were hydrolysed at a reduced rate. Our results support the hypothesis that different kinds of ferulic acid esterases exist with different specificities for the oligosaccharide chain of the feruloylated substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-269
Number of pages13
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Beet pulp
  • Ferulic acid
  • Ferulic acid esterases
  • Wheat bran

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