Characterization of Cinnamoyl Esterases from Different Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria

Curr Microbiol. 2017 Feb;74(2):247-256. doi: 10.1007/s00284-016-1182-x. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


A high variety of plants that are used for food production contain esterified hydroxycinnamic acids. As their free forms display several benefits, like an enhanced absorption in human intestinal tract, anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic effects, an improved protein solubility and reduced discoloration, the microbial ability to cleave the ester bond is highly desired. In order to examine potential fermentation strains for this purpose, six different lactic acid bacteria and one bifidobacterial strain were screened for their ability to degrade esterified hydroxycinnamic acids because these strains are commonly used for fermentation of plant-based foods. Moreover, their cinnamoyl esterase activity was examined by molecular biological analyses. The enzymes were heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and biochemically characterized. The purified esterases with a molecular mass around 27-29 kDa had their optimum predominantly between pH 7 and 8 at 20-30 °C. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus fermentum displayed activities against a broad substrate range (methyl caffeate, methyl trans-p-coumarate, chlorogenic acid as well as partially ethyl ferulate). Concerning substrate affinity, reaction velocity, thermal and pH stability, Lactobacillus gasseri showed the overall best performance. The herein studied lactic acid- and bifidobacteria are promising for the production of fermented plant-based foods with an increased quality and nutritional value.

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium / enzymology*
  • Bifidobacterium / genetics
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / chemistry
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / isolation & purification
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Coumaric Acids / metabolism
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactobacillus / enzymology*
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Molecular Weight
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Temperature


  • Coumaric Acids
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • feruloyl esterase