Characterisation of steryl esterase activities in commercial lipase preparations

Hanna Kontkanen (Corresponding Author), Maija Tenkanen, Richard Fagerström, Tapani Reinikainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Triglycerides, steryl esters, resin acids, free fatty acids and sterols are lipophilic extractives of wood (commonly referred to as pitch or wood resin) and have a negative impact on paper machine runnability and quality of paper. Thus, enzymes capable of modifying these compounds would be potential tools for reducing pitch problems during paper manufacture. In this work, 19 commercial lipase preparations were tested for their ability to degrade steryl esters, which may play a significant role in the formation and stabilisation of pitch particles. Six lipase preparations were shown to be able to degrade steryl esters. Lipase preparations of Pseudomonas sp., Chromobacterium viscosum and Candida rugosa were shown to have the highest steryl esterase activities. The enzymes were able to hydrolyse steryl esters totally in the presence of a surfactant (Thesit). Up to 80% of the steryl esters were degraded in aqueous dispersion. Preliminary characterisation of the enzymatic activities revealed that the lipase preparation of Pseudomonas sp. could be the most potential enzyme in industrial applications. The steryl esterase activity of this preparation was stable over a broad pH range and the enzyme was able to act efficiently at pH 6–10 and at temperatures up to 70 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51 - 59
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Steryl esters
  • Steryl esterase
  • Cholesteryl esterase
  • Lipase
  • (Wood) extractives
  • Pitch problems

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