Author(s): Lavazza M, Formantici C, Langella V, Monti D, Pfeiffer U,
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Abstract Chemical modifications of galactomannans are applied to improve and/or modify their solubility, rheological and functional properties, but have limited specificity and are often difficult to control. Enzymatic reactions, catalyzed under mild process conditions, such as depolymerization, debranching and oxidation, represent a viable and eco-friendly alternative. In this study, we describe oxidation of guar galactomannan primary hydroxyl groups by a fungal laccase using the stable radical TEMPO as mediator. Four fungal laccases were investigated from: Trametes versicolor, Myceliophthora thermophila, Thielavia arenaria, Cerrena unicolor. The laccase from T. versicolor was found to efficiently oxidize TEMPO and to be free of mannanase side activity. Oxidation of galactomannan with this enzyme plus TEMPO brought about a ten-fold increase in viscosity of a guar galactomannan solution and altered its rheological profile, by converting a viscous polysaccharide solution into an elastic gel. This structural modification is presumably due to formation of inter-chain hemiacetalic bonds between newly generated carbonyl groups and free OH groups, yielding a cross-linked gel. These findings could be of practical importance, considering that polysaccharides with high viscosity, gelling and elastic properties can find interesting and novel applications as thickeners, viscosifiers and emulsion stabilizers in several industrial applications such as: personal care, oil operations, paper coating, paints, construction and mining. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Biotechnol
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques