Starch Degradation by Fungal Polysaccharides Mono-Oxygenases

The recent discovery of extracellular fungal and bacterial enzymes (Polysaccharide monooxygenases (PMOs)) is offering a new set of tools .to cleave the recalcitrant polysaccharides cellulose and chitin The article describes the discovery of a new family of fungal PMOs that act on starch based on bioinformatic, biochemical, and spectroscopic studies on NCU8746, a representative starch-active PMO from Neurospora crassa.

The data support a proposed enzymatic mechanism and show that NCU08746 shares evolutionarily conserved features with previously reported PMOs. This discovery extends the currently known PMO family, suggesting the existence of a PMO superfamily with a much broader range of substrates. Starch-active PMOs provide an expanded perspective on studies of starch metabolism and may have potential in the food and starch-based biofuel industries.