Oxidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by the bacterial laccase CueO from E. coli

Jun Zeng, Xiangui Lin*, Jing Zhang, Xuanzhen Li, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Laccases produced by white rot fungi are capable of rapidly oxidizing benzo[a]pyrene. We hypothesize that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria producing laccase can enhance the degree of benzo[a]pyrene mineralization. However, fungal laccases are glycoproteins which cannot be glycosylated in bacteria, and there is no evidence to show that bacterial laccases can oxidize benzo[a]pyrene. In this study, the in vitro oxidation of PAHs by crude preparations of the bacterial laccase, CueO, from Escherichia coli was investigated. The results revealed that the crude CueO catalyzed the oxidation of anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene in the same way as the fungal laccase from Trametes versicolor, but showed specific characteristics such as thermostability and copper dependence. In the presence of 2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), high amounts of anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene, 80% and 97%, respectively, were transformed under optimal conditions of 60°C, pH 5, and 5 mmol l-1 CuCl 2 after a 24-h incubation period. Other PAHs including fluorene, acenaphthylene, phenanthrene, and benzo[a]anthracene were also oxidized by the crude CueO. These findings indicated the potential application of prokaryotic laccases in enhancing the mineralization of benzo[a]pyrene by PAH-degrading bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1841-1849
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anthracene
  • Bacterial laccase
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Biotransformation
  • CueO
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)


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