Fluorometric determination of extracellular enzyme activities in peat using a BMG LABTECH microplate reader

SAF Bonnett, R. Leah, E. Maltby Institute for Sustainable Water, University of Liverpool 09/2008

Peatland ecosystems represent a significant global store of carbon (C) due to the historic accumulation of organic matter resulting from suppressed microbial de-composition. Decomposition is limited by extracellular enzymes that are produced by the plant and microbial communities. The storage of carbon in peatland ecosystems is therefore regulated in part by the environmental factors that determine extracellular enzyme activities.


Here, we present the extracellular enzyme activities in peat measured on a BMG LABTECH microplate reader. The assay is based on methylumbelliferyl (MUF) substrates that fluoresce upon enzymatic cleavage allowing the amount of product to be measured.


The extracellular enzymes β-glucosidase, cellobio-hydrolase and N-acetylglucosaminidase reached substrate saturation at 200 μM, 200 μM and 300 μM of MUF-substrate, respectively.


The results show that extracellular enzyme activities can be determined in peat at low cost and within a short period of time using a BMG LABTECH microplate reader.

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