Enzymatic isolation and structural characterisation of polymeric suberin of cork from Quercus suber L.


An enzymatic method has been used to isolate, for the first time, polymeric suberin from the bark of Quercus suber L. or cork. This was achieved by solvent extraction (dichloromethane, ethanol and water), followed by a step-by-step enzymatic treatment with cellulase, hemicellulase and pectinase, and a final extraction with dioxane/water. The progress of suberin isolation was monitored by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy using a photoacoustic cell (FTIR-PAS). The material obtained (polymeric suberin (PS)) was characterised by solid-state and liquid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, FTIR-PAS and vapour pressure osmometry, and compared with the suberin fraction obtained by alkaline depolymerisation (depolymerised suberin (DS)). The results show ed that PS is an aliphatic polyester of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. with an average molecular weight (M-w) of 2050 g mol(-1). Although this fraction represents only 10% of the whole suberin of cork, its polymeric nature gives valuable information about the native form of the polymer. DS was found to have an average M-w of 750 g mol(-1) and to comprise a significant amount of acidic and alcoholic short aliphatic chains. (C) 2001 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.



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Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Rocha, SM; Goodfellow, BJ; Delgadillo, I; Neto, CP; Gil, AM

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