Bifunctional xylanases and their potential use in biotechnology

J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Jul;35(7):635-44. doi: 10.1007/s10295-008-0342-9. Epub 2008 Mar 26.


Plant cell walls are comprised of cellulose, hemicellulose and other polymers that are intertwined. This complex structure acts as a barrier to degradation by single enzyme. Thus, a cocktail consisting of bi and multifunctional xylanases and xylan debranching enzymes is most desired combination for the efficient utilization of these complex materials. Xylanases have prospective applications in the food, animal feed, and paper and pulp industries. Furthermore, in order to enhance feed nutrient digestibility and to improve wheat flour quality xylanase along with other glycohydrolases are often used. For these applications, a bifunctional enzyme is undoubtedly much more valuable as compared to monofunctional enzyme. The natural diversity of enzymes provides some candidates with evolved bifunctional activity. Nevertheless most resulted from the in vitro fusion of individual enzymes. Here we present bifunctional xylanases, their evolution, occurrence, molecular biology and potential uses in biotechnology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Xylosidases / genetics
  • Xylosidases / metabolism*


  • Xylosidases