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Fusel alcohol biosynthesis in the Ceratocystidaceae

Magriet van der Nest: Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria

<div><span>Fungi in the family Ceratocystidaceae produce fusel alcohols and acetates which have fruity and floral odours. These compounds are valuable additives of food products, perfumes and soaps. The of the study aim was to analyse the volatiles produced by the Ceratocystidaceae and to study their biosynthesis. All the stains included in our study produced isoamyl acetate from leucine, while members of the <em>Endoconidiophora</em> and <em>Huntiella</em> genera also produced phenylethyl acetate from phenylalanine. Species of <em>Ceratocystis</em> and <em>Huntiella</em> produced isobutyl acetate using valine as a substrate. We discovered four genes encoding aromatic amino transferases and three genes encoding branched-chain amino transferases in the available genomes of the Ceratocystidaceae that might be involved in catalysing the first steps in the production of the fusel alcohols produced by these fungi. This, however, represents a lower number of genes encoding these enzymes than in other fungi of the Sordariomycetes that do not produce fruity or floral smells. Further functional analysis of these genes will therefore be necessary to confirm their involvement in the biosynthesis of these volatiles.</span></div>