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Hydrolysis of Nonpolar n-Alkyl Ferulates by Feruloyl Esterases

Schär, Aline, Sprecher, Isabel, Topakas, Evangelos, Faulds, Craig B., Nyström, Laura
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2016 v.64 no.45 pp. 8549-8554
bioavailability, cell wall components, digestion, esterification, esters, ferulic acid, feruloyl esterase, humans, hydrolysis, hydrophobicity
Ferulic acid is one of the major phenolic acids in plants and can be found esterified to plant cell wall components, but also as long-chain n-alkyl and steryl esters. Microbial feruloyl esterases may play a role in the bioavailability of phenolic acids during human and animal digestion. It is therefore of interest if feruloyl esterases are capable of hydrolyzing nonpolar ferulic acid esters. A series of n-alkyl ferulates with increasing lipophilicity were enzymatically synthesized, and the kinetic constants of their hydrolysis by four feruloyl esterases and a lipase as control were determined. A decrease in Kₘ and kcₐₜ could be observed with decreased substrate polarity for all of the feruloyl esterases. Only one feruloyl esterase and the control lipase showed hydrolytic activity toward octadecyl ferulate. These results led to the conclusion that lipophilic ferulates are poor substrates for known feruloyl esterases and more specific esterases/lipases need to be identified.