A study of Endo-β-mannanase in barley (Hordeum vulgare)
Thesis DisciplinePlant Biotechnology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Endo-β-mannanase is an endohydrolase enzyme responsible for the breakdown of mannan-containing polysaccharides common in the cell walls of many plants. The action of endo-β-mannanase in barley, its optimum temperature and pH for action, temporal and spatial localization, activity in the presence of hormones and sugars and its effect on the seed's mechanical strength were assayed. The development of a spectrophotometric assay for endo-β-mannanase detection was also trialed. The optimum temperature and pH for these experiments were found to be 37℃ and pH 7. Using these parameters, the endo-β-mannanase enzyme was found to be initially localized in the seed coat and moved through to the endosperm over time. The detected level of enzyme activity increased in the presence of gibberellic acid and glucose, or decreased when abscisic acid was added. Similar results were seen when the embryo was removed and the endosperm and seed coat were incubated in hormone- and sugar-containing media. The presence of exogenous endo-β-mannanase did not affect the mechanical strength of the seed but there was a strong correlation between increasing endo-β-mannanase activity and decreasing mechanical strength over time. The spectrophotometric assay for quantifying endo-β-mannanase in extracts showed promise but did not reach fruition due to unexplained sources of variation. The localization and regulation of endo-β-mannanase in barley were similar to those seen in other plants, such as tomato, lettuce and coffee. These findings have biotechnological applications within the brewery industry. By increasing the mobilization of reserves such as mannan, it is thought that the seedling can utilize this secondary carbohydrate source instead of, or at least supplementing, glucose which was mobilized from starch. This will theoretically reduce the starch and glucose lost during the malting period leaving a higher sugar content free for fermentation.