The orange juice processing sector produces worldwide massive amounts of waste, which is characterized by high lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose content, and which exceeds 40% of the fruit’s dry weight (d.w.). In this work, the diversity and the biotechnological potential of xylan-degrading microbiota in orange juice processing waste were investigated through the implementation of an enrichment isolation strategy followed by enzyme assays for the determination of xylanolytic activities, and via next generation sequencing for microbial diversity identification. Intracellular rather than extracellular endo-1,4-β-xylanase activities were detected, indicating that peripheral cell-bound (surface) xylanases are involved in xylan hydrolysis by the examined microbial strains. Among the isolated microbial strains, bacterial isolates belonging to Pseudomonas psychrotolerans
spectrum (99.9%/99.8% similarity, respectively) exhibited activities of 280 U/mg protein. In contrast, almost all microbial strains isolated exerted low extracellular 1,4-β-xylosidase activities (<5 U/mg protein), whereas no intracellular 1,4-β-xylosidase activities were detected for any of them. Illumina data showed the dominance of lactic and acetic acid bacteria and of the yeasts Hanseniaspora
. This is the first report on indigenous xylanolytic microbiota isolated from orange juice processing waste, possessing the biotechnological potential to serve as biocatalysts for citrus biomass valorization through the production of high-added value products and energy recovery.
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