Background: Increasing attention has been focused on inulin and levan-type oligosaccharides, including fructosyl-xylosides and other fructosides due to their nutraceutical properties. Bacillus subtilis levansucrase (LS) catalyzes the synthesis of levan from sucrose, but it may also transfer the fructosyl moiety from sucrose to acceptor molecules included in the reaction medium. To study transfructosylation reactions with highly active and robust derivatives, cross-linked enzyme aggregates (CLEAs) were prepared from wild LS and two mutants. CLEAs combine the catalytic features of pure protein preparations in terms of specific activity with the mechanical behavior of industrial biocatalysts.
Results: Two types of procedures were used for the preparation of biocatalysts from purified wild type LS (WT LS) B. subtilis and the R360K and Y429N LS mutants: purified enzymes aggregated with glutaraldehyde (cross-linked enzyme aggregates: CLEAs), and covalently immobilized enzymes in Eupergit C. The biocatalysts were characterized and used for fructoside synthesis using xylose as an acceptor model. CLEAs were able to catalyze the synthesis of fructosides as efficiently as soluble enzymes. The specific activity of CLEAs prepared from wild type LS (44.9 U/mg of CLEA), R360K (56.5 U/mg of CLEA) and Y429N (1.2 U/mg of CLEA) mutants were approximately 70, 40 and 200-fold higher, respectively, than equivalent Eupergit C immobilized enzyme preparations (U/mg of Eupergit), where units refer to global LS activity. In contrast, the specific activity of the free enzymes was 160, 171.2 and 1.5 U/mg of protein, respectively. Moreover, all CLEAs had higher thermal stability than corresponding soluble enzymes. In the long term, the operational stability was affected by levan synthesis.
Conclusion: This is the first report of cross-linked transglycosidases aggregates. CLEAs prepared from purified LS and mutants have the highest specific activity for immobilized fructosyltransferases (FTFs) reported in the literature. CLEAs from R360K and Y429N LS mutants were particularly suitable for fructosyl-xyloside synthesis as the absence of levan synthesis decreases diffusion limitation and increases operational stability.