Impure preparations of rat intestinal peroxidase were shown to aggregate at low ionic strengths and to disaggregate at higher values. This aggregation was accompanied by a decrease in specific activity, which could lead to hysteretic behaviour of reaction progress curves. Advantage was taken of this reversible aggregation to obtain a relatively pure extract, which was subsequently purified to apparent homogeneity by affinity chromatography on concanavalin A-Sepharose followed by hydrophobic chromatography. The purified enzyme did not show the ionic-strength-dependent aggregation behaviour, behaving as a monomer of Mr 50,000. The purified enzyme was shown to catalyse the peroxidatic conversion of the commonly used antioxidant 2-t-butyl-4-methoxyphenol (butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA) to form 3,3′-di-t-butyl-2,2′-dihydroxy-5,5′-dimethoxybiphenyl, with a Km value of 176 microM and a maximum velocity of 8 mumol/min per mg. The specificity constant, kcat./Km, for this substrate was similar to that shown towards the substrate guaiacol.

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