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A high-throughput assay for enzymatic polyester hydrolysis activity by fluorimetric detection

Authors

  • Ren Wei,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Thorsten Oeser,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Susan Billig,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
    2. Institute of Analytical Chemistry, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 29, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Zimmermann

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
    • Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 21-23, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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Abstract

A fluorimetric assay for the fast determination of the activity of polyester-hydrolyzing enzymes in a large number of samples has been developed. Terephthalic acid (TPA) is a main product of the enzymatic hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a synthetic polyester. Terephthalate has been quantified following its conversion to the fluorescent 2-hydroxyterephthalate by an iron autoxidation-mediated generation of free hydroxyl radicals. The assay proved to be robust at different buffer concentrations, reaction times, pH values, and in the presence of proteins. A validation of the assay was performed by analyzing TPA formation from PET films and nanoparticles catalyzed by a polyester hydrolase from Thermobifida fusca KW3 in a 96-well microplate format. The results showed a close correlation (R2 = 0.99) with those obtained by a considerably more tedious and time-consuming HPLC method, suggesting the aptness of the fluorimetric assay for a high-throughput screening for polyester hydrolases. The method described in this paper will facilitate the detection and development of biocatalysts for the modification and degradation of synthetic polymers. The fluorimetric assay can be used to quantify the amount of TPA obtained as the final degradation product of the enzymatic hydrolysis of PET. In a microplate format, this assay can be applied for the high-throughput screening of polyester hydrolases.

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