John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Activity and ecological implications of maize‐expressed transgenic endo‐1,4‐β‐D‐glucanase in agricultural soils

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Plant expression of thermostable endoglucanase (E1) [pdb:1ECE] has been proposed for improved conversion of lignocellulose to ethanol for fuel production. Residues of E1‐expressing maize may effect ecological services (e.g., C mineralization and biogeochemical cycling) on soils where they occur. Therefore, the activity of residual E1 was investigated using soils amended with bacterial and plant‐solubilized E1 as compared to soil endogenous activity and residual activity from a mesostable cellulase (Aspergillus and Trichoderma spp.). An optimized analytical method involving a carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) substrate and dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) detection effectively assayed endoglucanase activity in amended and unamended soils and was used for determining E1 activity in three representative soils. The effect of E1 on soil carbon mineralization was determined by comparing CO2 evolution from soils amended with transgenic E1‐expressing and Wild‐type maize tissue. Extraction and recovery of the mesostable comparator, bacterial E1, and plant‐soluble E1 showed near‐complete loss of exogenous endoglucanase activity within a 24‐h period. Carbon mineralization indicated no significant difference between soils amended with either the transgenic E1 or Wild‐type maize tissue. These results indicate that maize residues expressing up to 30 µg E1 per g tissue negligibly affect soil endoglucanase activity and CO2 respiration for representative soils where transgenic E1 maize may be grown. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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