Colorimetric detection of acetyl xylan esterase activities

Galina Mai-Gisondi, Emma R. Master*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Colorimetric detection of reaction products is typically preferred for initial surveys of acetyl xylan esterase (AcXE) activity. This chapter will describe common colorimetric methods, and variations thereof, for measuring AcXE activities on commercial, synthesized, and natural substrates. Whereas assays using pNP-acetate, α-naphthyl acetate, and 4-methylumbelliferyl acetate (4MUA) are emphasized, common methods used to measure AcXE activity towards carbohydrate analogs (e.g., acetylated p-nitrophenyl β-d-xylopyranosides) and various acetylated xylans are also described. Strengths and limitations of the colorimetric assays are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProtein-Carbohydrate Interactions
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
EditorsD. Wade Abbott, Alicia Lammerts van Bueren
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-6899-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-6898-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • 4-Methylumbelliferyl acetate
  • Acetyl xylan esterase
  • Acetylated xylooligosaccharides
  • Colorimetric assays
  • pNP-acetate
  • α-Naphthyl acetate
  • β-Xylosidase-coupled assay


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