β-Ether cleavage of the lignin model compound 4-ethoxy-3-methoxyphenylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether and derivatives by Phanerochaete chrysosporium

Research paper by Akio Enoki, Gwendolyn P. Goldsby, Michael H. Gold

Indexed on: 01 Apr '81Published on: 01 Apr '81Published in: Archives of Microbiology


The white rot basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium metabolized 4-ethoxy-3-methoxyphenyl-glycerol-β-guaiacyl ether (V) in low nitrogen, stationary cultures under which conditions the ligninolytic enzyme system is expressed. 4-Ethoxy-3-methoxyphenylglycerol XIII, guaicol and 4-ethoxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol (II) were isolated as metabolic products. Exogenously added XIII was rapidly converted to 4-ethoxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol indicating that it is an intermediate in the metabolism of V. P. chrysosporium also metabolized 1-(4′-ethoxy-3′-methoxyphenyl)-2-(2″-methoxyphenoxy)-3-hydroxypropane VI. The degradation pathway for this dimer also included initial β-ether cleavage and α-hydroxylation of the diol product 1-(4′-ethoxy-3′-methoxyphenyl) 2,3 dihydroxypropane (XI) to yield the triol XIII which was cleaved at the α, β bond to yield 4-ethoxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol. Finally P. chrysosporium also cleaved the dimer 1-(4′-ethoxy-3′-methoxyphenyl)-2-(2″-methoxyphenoxy)-1-hydroxypropane (VIII) at the β-ether linkage yielding 1-(4′-ethoxy-3′-methoxyphenyl) 1,2 dihydroxypropane (IX) which was subsequently cleaved at the α, β bond to yield II. All of the results indicate that oxidative β-ether cleavage is an important initial reaction in the metabolism of β-aryl ether lignin substructure dimeric compounds. Metabolities were identified after comparison with chemically synthesized standards by gas liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.