On the reactions of two fungal laccases differing in their redox potential with lignin model compounds: products and their rate of formation.
ABSTRACT Laccases (EC 22.214.171.124) are multicopper oxidases able to oxidize phenolic compounds such as lignin-related polyphenols. Since the discovery that so-called mediators effectively extend the family of laccase substrates, direct interactions between lignin-like materials and laccase have gained much less attention. In this work, the aim was to characterize oxidation products formed in direct laccase-catalyzed oxidation of different guaiacylic and syringylic lignin model compounds with two different laccases: a low redox potential Melanocarpus albomyces laccase and a high redox potential Trametes hirsuta laccase. By following the formation of different, mainly biphenylic (5-5) and benzylic oxidation products, it was found that although both of these enzymes generated practically the same pattern of products with particular types of syringyl and guaiacyl compounds, in some cases a clear difference in the rates of their formation was observed. The results also confirm further to the suggestions that syringylic compounds are able to act as mediators in their own oxidation reactions and also that in some instances acetylation of phenolic material may produce altered, unexpected structures.