Author(s): Rautela GS, Cowling EB
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Abstract A simple method is described for determining the relative cellulolytic activity of fungi. Opaque columns of an agar medium containing a partially crystalline cellulose preparation were inoculated with the fungi. Depth of the clear zone that developed beneath the growing cultures provided a visual measure of cellulolytic activity on a continuous, cumulative basis. Depth of clearing (DC) was determined for 25 species of fungi differing widely in cellulolytic activity, and compared by correlation analysis with results of three other methods for measuring cellulolytic activity. Relatively high coefficients of correlation (greater than 0.6) were obtained between DC and weight loss of cotton sliver, loss in tensile strength of cotton duck, and carboxymethyl cellulase activity in culture filtrates. In comparison with conventional assay procedures, the clearing method offered several advantages: (i) results were at least as well correlated with the capacity to utilize native cellulose as a substrate; (ii) the method measured activity of growing cultures rather than culture filtrates, thus involving less risk of losses due to product inhibition, binding, or denaturation of enzymes; (iii) repeated measurements were made on the same experimental set up, so that errors due to arbitrarily selected times of harvest were avoided conveniently; and (iv) the method required less working time and very simple equipment, making it convenient for large-scale screening tests.
This article was published in Appl Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology