Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Baker, PW; Kennedy, J; Morrissey, J; O'Gara, F; Dobson, ADW; Marchesi, JR;
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Endoglucanase activities and growth of marine-derived fungi isolated from the sponge Haliclona simulans
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Aims: The conversion of cheap cellulosic biomass to more easily fermentable sugars requires the use of costly cellulases. We have isolated a series of marine sponge-derived fungi and screened these for cellulolytic activity to determine the potential of this unique environmental niche as a source of novel cellulase activities. Methods and Results: Fungi were isolated from the marine sponge Haliclona simulans. Phylogenetic analysis of these and other fungi previously isolated from H. simulans showed fungi from three phyla with very few duplicate species. Cellulase activities were determined using plate-based assays using different media and sea water concentrations while extracellular cellulase activities were determined using 3,5-dinitrosalicylic acid (DNSA)-based assays. Total and specific cellulase activities were determined using a range of incubation temperatures and compared to those for the cellulase overproducing mutant Hypocrea jecorina QM9414. Several of the strains assayed produced total or relative endoglucanase activities that were higher than H. jecorina, particularly at lower reaction temperatures. Conclusions: Marine sponges harbour diverse fungal species and these fungi are a good source of endoglucanase activities. Analysis of the extracellular endoglucanase activities revealed that some of the marine-derived fungi produced high endoglucanase activities that were especially active at lower temperatures. Significance and Impact of the Study: Marine-derived fungi associated with coastal marine sponges are a novel source of highly active endoglucanases with significant activity at low temperatures and could be a source of novel cellulase activities.

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