Chemical Reactions, CR 1: Determining Chemical Reactions (MS), Physical Science

Fungal biodegradation and enzymatic modification of lignin

Fungal biodegradation and enzymatic modification of lignin

SUMMARY: A summary breaking down and explaining the different types of ligninases found in white-rot and brown-rot fungi. Each section is a description of a particular type of ligninase and its specific function.

LESSON COMMENTS: This is a great article if you’re teaching students about redox reactions in chemistry class and want to try to help students make the connection between chemistry and biology. Aside from the electron transport chain in cellular respiration, enzymes are a good example of redox reactions in living organisms. I wouldn’t use all the sections in this article all at once, but I’d pick one ligninase or section to use in the lesson. Specific types of enzymes mentioned are peroxidases and oxidases, both involving redox reactions, but peroxidases uses peroxide as a co-substrate (helper).

Another great connection for students to make here is the one between genome sequencing and enzymes. Sequencing the genomes of fungi help scientists understand the structure and function of enzymes. It’s a simple connection, but many students I’ve taught often have trouble understanding the idea that genes code for proteins and enzymes.

Dashtban, M., Schraft, H., Syed, T. A., & Qin, W. (2010). Fungal biodegradation and enzymatic modification of lignin. International journal of biochemistry and molecular biology, 1(1), 36-50.