Effect of ionic detergents, nonionic detergents, and chaotropic agents on polyphenol oxidase activity from dormant saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corms

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 May 2;55(9):3713-9. doi: 10.1021/jf063749n. Epub 2007 Apr 4.


Polyphenol oxidase (PPO; EC catalyzes the hydroxylation of monophenols to o-diphenols (cresolase activity) and the oxidation of o-diphenols to o-quinones (catecholase activity), leading to browning in plants and produce. Further interest in the enzyme has been triggered by the active role that it plays in plant defense systems. PPO can be found in latent forms and is activated in vitro by various agents including urea, detergents, and proteases. The activation of PPO from several sources by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) has been extensively investigated, but reports on the effect of other detergents or on the differential effect of detergents on each of PPO's activities are scarce. In addition, investigations on the enzyme in other plant parts besides fruits and vegetables are also scarce. Here, the effect of various detergents and chaotropic agents on PPO from dormant saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corm extract was investigated. SDS and sarkosyl activated the cresolase activity, while only SDS activated the catecholase activity. All other detergents tested, in milli- or micromolar concentrations, inhibited the cresolase activity but barely affected the catecholase activity. In contrast, urea and guanidine-HCl drastically inhibited the catecholase activity but moderately inhibited the cresolase activity. The same effects were obtained on the partially purified enzyme. Results identified a PPO, present in dormant corms, which was activated only by anionic detergents and was inhibited by other reputed activating agents such as urea. Results also emphasized the differences in structure and accessibility of the active sites for cresolase and catecholase activities.

MeSH terms

  • Anions
  • Catechol Oxidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Catechol Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Crocus / enzymology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Guanidine / pharmacology
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology*
  • Urea / pharmacology


  • Anions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Urea
  • Catechol Oxidase
  • Guanidine