Biochemical relationships between biodegradation of cellulose and formation of oxalic acid in brown-rot wood decay
M Shimada, Y Akamatsu, A Ohta, M Takahashi
Non-enzymic hydrolysis of cellulose with low concentrations of oxalic acid was examined. The incubation of pine wood pulp with 1% oxalic acid (pH 1.3) at 35°C for 4 weeks reduced the original viscosity to 60%. Reducing sugars were liberated from various cellulosic samples by the oxalic acid treatment. However, crystallinities of cellulose in those samples did not change before and after the treatments. Then, the enzymatic formation of oxalic acid was investigated in relation to cellulose biodegradation by brown-rot fungi. We succeeded in isolating oxaloacetase from the brown-rot fungus Tyromyces palustris in cell-free extracts which catalyze hydrolysis of oxaloacetate to produce oxalate and acetate. During the brown-rot wood decay process, oxaloacetase may play an important role in degradation of wood carbohydrate.