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Use of physiological information and process optimisation enhances production of extracellular nuclease by a marine strain of Bacillus licheniformis

Lookup NU author(s): Nithyalakshmy Rajarajan, Emeritus Professor Alan Ward, Professor Grant Burgess, Professor Jarka Glassey


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The extracellular nuclease, NucB, from Bacillus licheniformis, can digest extracellular DNA in biofilms, causing biofilm dispersal, and may therefore be used commercially to remove biofilms. However, producing quantities of this secreted peptide is difficult and our aim was therefore to improve its laboratory scale production. This study builds on our understanding of B. licheniformis physiology to enhance NucB production. The addition of manganese, which triggers sporulation and enhances NucB expression, lead to a 5-fold increase in NucB production. Optimisation via Placket-Burman design of experiments identified 3 significant medium components and a subsequent Central Composite Design, to determine the optimum levels of these components, resulted in a 10-fold increase to 471U/ml. The optimal phosphate concentration was less than 0.3mM as this is known to inhibit nuclease production. The use of physiologically relevant information combined with optimisation represents a promising approach to increased enzyme production, which may also be widely applicable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rajarajan N, Ward AC, Burgess JG, Glassey J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bioresource Technology

Year: 2013

Volume: 130

Pages: 552-558

Print publication date: 20/12/2012

ISSN (print): 0960-8524

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2976

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.12.064


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