Indigenous West African plants as novel sources of polysaccharide degrading enzymes: Application in the reduction of the viscosity of cereal porridges

  • MH Dicko
  • R Hilhorst
  • AS Traore
Keywords: a-amylase, ß-amylase, ß-glucanase, yeast glucan, infant porridge, Boscia senegalensis, Gladilus klattianus, Curculigo pilosa.


Ethnobotanical and biochemical surveys revealed that some local plants from West Africa are novel sources of polysaccharide degrading enzymes such as amylases and glucanases. The study shows that these enzymes could be used for various biotechnological applications. In a crude extract of
Curculigo pilosa, ß-amylase was the main starch hydrolyzing enzyme. Contrary to other plant amylases, the ß-amylase from C. pilosa is able to degrade raw starches from wheat, corn, potato and rice. In the bulbs of Gladiolus klattianus, activities of a-amylase and ß-amylase were found. Analysis of the enzyme action pattern showed that it released only maltose units from starch. Activities of aamylase, ß-amylase, exo-(1®3, 1®4)-ß-D-glucanase and endo-(1®3)-ß-D-glucanase were detected in the leaves of Boscia senegalensis. The combined action of a saccharogenic enzyme (ß-amylase) and a dextrinizing enzyme (a-amylase) in B. senegalensis was useful to decrease the viscosity of cereal
porridges and to increase their reducing sugar contents. The effective technological utilization of these higher plants as sources of carbohydrate degrading enzymes is discussed.

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eISSN: 1684-5315