Laccases (EC 126.96.36.199) are enzymes known for their ability to catalyze the oxidation of phenolic compounds using molecular oxygen as the final electron acceptor. Laccase activity is commonly determined by monitoring spectrophotometric changes (absorbance) of the product or substrate during the enzymatic reaction. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is a fast and versatile technique where spectral evolution profiling, i.e. assessment of the spectral changes of both substrate and products during enzymatic conversion in real time, can be used to assess enzymatic activity when combined with multivariate data analysis. We employed FTIR to monitor enzymatic oxidation of monolignols (sinapyl, coniferyl and p-coumaryl alcohol), sinapic acid, and sinapic aldehyde by four different laccases: three fungal laccases from Trametes versicolor, Trametes villosa and Ganoderma lucidum, respectively, and one bacterial laccase from Meiothermus ruber. By coupling the FTIR measurements with Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC) we established a quantitative assay for assessing laccase activity. By combining PARAFAC modelling with Principal Component Analysis we show the usefulness of this technology as a multivariate tool able to compare and distinguish different laccase reaction patterns. We also demonstrate how the FTIR approach can be used to create a reference system for laccase activity comparison based on a relatively low number of measurements. Such a reference system has potential to function as a high-throughput method for comparing reaction pattern similarities and differences between laccases and hereby identify new and interesting enzyme candidates in large sampling pools.
- Enzyme activity assay
- Spectral evolution profiles