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Separation of Pectin Methylesterase Isoenzymes from Tomato Fruits using Short Monolithic Columns

I. Vovk, B. Simonovska, M. Benčina

Journal of Chromatography A, 1065 (2005) 121-128

One of the main forms of tomato pectin methylesterase (PME; EC that is applicable to the food industry was isolated from fresh tomato fruit. The extraction of the PME isoenzymes involved washing the fresh tomato flesh with water in order to remove sugars and than solubilizing the enzymes with a diluted HCl solution at pH 1.6. The extract was then neutralized to pH 7.4 using buffer solution. After filtration, the solution was directly fractioned using Convective Interaction Media (CIM®) short monolithic disk column bearing sulfonyl (SO3) groups and using a linear gradient from 0 to 700 mM NaCl. The injection volume was 3 ml and the diameter of the column was 12 mm and length 3 mm. The isolated fractions were monitored for protein content and PME activity. The fraction with the targeted enzyme, which showed NaCl independent activity, was further purified and concentrated by ultrafiltration and finally purified by a second semi-preparative cation-exchange chromatography step using a CIM carboxymethyl (CM) disk monolithic column consisting of two disks and applying a step gradient. From 1 kg of fresh tomato fruits, 7.5 mg of purified PME with molecular mass estimated to be 26 000 by sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS–PAGE) was obtained. A fraction with mixed PME and polygalacturonase activity was also obtained. Compared to the published procedures for the isolation and purification of PME from plant materials, this new procedure is much faster and more efficient. The potential application of CIM disk short monolithic columns in the analysis and semi-preparative extraction and isolation of the PME isoenzyme is presented.

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