Production and degradation of oxalic Acid by brown rot fungi.

Espejo E, Agosin E.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Catholic University of Chile, P.O. Box 6177, Santíago, Chile.


Our results show that all of the brown rot fungi tested produce oxalic acid in liquid as well as in semisolid cultures. Gloeophyllum trabeum, which accumulates the lowest amount of oxalic acid during decay of pine holocellulose, showed the highest polysaccharide-depolymerizing activity. Semisolid cultures inoculated with this fungus rapidly converted C-labeled oxalic acid to CO(2) during cellulose depolymerization. The other brown rot fungi also oxidized C-labeled oxalic acid, although less rapidly. In contrast, semisolid cultures inoculated with the white rot fungus Coriolus versicolor did not significantly catabolize the acid and did not depolymerize the holocellulose during decay. Semisolid cultures of G. trabeum amended with desferrioxamine, a specific iron-chelating agent, were unable to lower the degree of polymerization of cellulose or to oxidize C-labeled oxalic acid to the extent or at the rate that control cultures did. These results suggest that both iron and oxalic acid are involved in cellulose depolymerization by brown rot fungi.

PMID: 16348522 [PubMed]