Corn bran is an abundant coprocessing stream of corn-starch processing, rich in highly substituted, diferuloyl-cross-linked glucurono-arabinoxylan. The diferuloyl cross-links make the glucurono-arabinoxylan recalcitrant to enzymatic conversion and constitute a hindrance for designing selective enzymatic upgrading of corn glucurono-arabinoxylan. Here, we show that two bacterial feruloyl esterases, wtsFae1A and wtsFae1B, each having a carbohydrate-binding module of family 48, are capable of cleaving the ester bonds of the cross-linkages and releasing 5-5', 8-5', 8-5' benzofuran, and 8-O-4' diferulate from soluble and insoluble corn bran glucurono-arabinoxylan. All four diferulic acids were released at similar efficiency, indicating nondiscriminatory enzymatic selectivity for the esterified dimer linkages, the only exception being that wtsFae1B had a surprisingly high propensity for releasing the dimers, especially 8-5' benzofuran diferulate, indicating a potential, unique catalytic selectivity. The data provide evidence of direct enzymatic release of diferulic acids from corn bran by newly discovered feruloyl esterases, i.e., a new enzyme activity. The findings yield new insight and create new opportunities for enzymatic opening of diferuloyl cross-linkages to pave the way for upgrading of recalcitrant arabinoxylans.
- Diferulic acid
- Feruloyl esterase
- Carbohydrate-binding module 48