Wood degradation, and cellulase and ligninase production, by Trametes and other wood-inhabiting basidiomycetes from indigenous forests of Zimbabwe

A Y Mswaka, N Magan

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Nine species of Trametes and five other wood inhabiting basidiomycetes, were collected from the indigenous forests of Zimbabwe and analysed for cellulases, ligninases, extracellular phenolases and wood degrading ability for the first time. Cellulase enzyme activities varied widely among the species. After 15 d growth exo-glucanase activity had increased in the majority of species whilst Biter paper activity showed the opposite trend, being greatly reduced in all species on day 15 compared to day IO. Endo-glucanase activity was relatively uniform at both sampling times. The fungi were more active against water soluble cellulose derivatives than filter paper cellulase. In all the fungi tested, cellulose activity on filter paper was significantly less than endo- and exo-glucanase activities. The highest cellulase activity was expressed by Cerrena meyenii (683 U mg(-1)) Phaeotrametes decipiens, Trametes modesta, and T. pocas also expressed relatively high cellulase activity on all types of cellulose tested. All Trametes species tested positive for extracellular phenol oxidases whilst Fomotopsis spragueii and Irpex stereoides tested negative. Ail but one of the Trametes species in the study were able to degrade two different lignin preparations in tests for lignin degradation. T. menziesii was unable to degrade both lignin preparations although it had tested positive for production of extracellular oxidase. The species in this study degraded hardwood to a greater extent than softwood. Eight of them caused more than 80% dry weight loss of wood blocks during 70 d incubation. Those fungi that expressed high cellulase activity also caused high weight loss on wood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1404
Number of pages6
JournalMycological Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998

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