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Antifungal spectrum determination of the K5 type yeast killer protein on fungi causing spoilage in citrus fruits

Kepekçi, Remziye Aysun
Some yeast strains under certain conditions secrete polypeptide toxins which are inhibitory to sensitive fungal cells into the medium. These yeast strains are termed as killer yeasts and their toxins are designated as killer proteins or killer toxins. Killer proteins are classified into 11 typical types (K1-K11). These toxins have different killing mechanisms on sensitive cells. Some of them hydrolyze major cell wall component, beta-1,3- glucans. As mammalian cells lack cell walls research and development of novel highly selective antifungals are mostly focused on the agents which target the components of the fungal cell wall. K5 type killer protein was characterized in our labarotory previously. This protein is an exo beta-1,3-glucanase which is stable at pH’s and temperatures appropriate for its biocontrol usage. Beta-1,3-glucan hydrolyzing activity of the K5 type killer protein highlighted the potential use of this protein as a selective antifungal agent. According to CLSI methodology, antifungal activity of the K5 type yeast killer protein was tested against 6 fungal strains causing postharvest spoilage in citrus fruits and found to be effective on Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium italicum whereas non effective on Colletotrichum gloeosporoides, Phythophythora citrophthora, Alternaria citri. The MIC values of the toxin for B.cinerea, P.digitatum, P.italicum were found to be 16 mikrogram/ml while IC 50 values of the toxin were 2.12, 3.31, 2.57 mikrogram/ml respectively. The results showed that K5 type yeast killer protein would be used as a novel and selective agent against B.cinerea, P.digitatum and P.italicum.