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Assay of Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate) Depolymerase Activity and Product Determination

Gebauer, Birgit, Jendrossek, Dieter
Applied and environmental microbiology 2006 v.72 no.9 pp. 6094-6100
3-hydroxybutyric acid, Ralstonia eutropha, derivatization, esters, granules, high performance liquid chromatography, hydrolysis, pumps, titration
Two methods for accurate poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) depolymerase activity determination and quantitative and qualitative hydrolysis product determination are described. The first method is based on online determination of NaOH consumption rates necessary to neutralize 3-hydroxybutyric acid (3HB) and/or 3HB oligomers produced during the hydrolysis reaction and requires a pH-stat apparatus equipped with a software-controlled microliter pump for rapid and accurate titration. The method is universally suitable for hydrolysis of any type of polyhydroxyalkanoate or other molecules with hydrolyzable ester bonds, allows the determination of hydrolysis rates of as low as 1 nmol/min, and has a dynamic capacity of at least 6 orders of magnitude. By applying this method, specific hydrolysis rates of native PHB granules isolated from Ralstonia eutropha H16 were determined for the first time. The second method was developed for hydrolysis product identification and is based on the derivatization of 3HB oligomers into bromophenacyl derivates and separation by high-performance liquid chromatography. The method allows the separation and quantification of 3HB and 3HB oligomers up to the octamer. The two methods were applied to investigate the hydrolysis of different types of PHB by selected PHB depolymerases.