In Japan, group of researchers led by the Tokyo University of Science has discovered a novel enzyme from a soil fungus. In their study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, they speculate that this enzyme plays important roles in the soil ecosystem, and then describe its structure and action. Once the usefulness of the main product of this enzyme is better understood in the future, this enzyme could also be exploited for industrial purposes.
This novel enzyme, TfSGL, breaks down β-1,2-glucan into sophorose. According to the lead researcher, “As the functions and applications of sophorose become more apparent in the future, the enzyme could potentially be used for sophorose production. β-Glucanases already play an important role in our lives, as they are widely used in biofuel production.”