, Volume 78, Issue 3-4, pp 315-321

Molecular detection of bacterial and streptomycete chitinases in the environment

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Sets of PCR primers were designed to amplify bacterial chitinases at different levels of specificity. The bacterial chitinase group primers were successful in targeting enzymes classified within the group A glycosyl hydrolases of family 18. The widespread occurrence of group A bacterial chitinases in actinomycetes was demonstrated. Streptomycete chitinase specific primers were designed and a collection of type strains of species changed in the genes Streptomyces were screened and shown to have at least one and usually multiple chitinase genes. The presence of the gene for the chitin binding protein was also demonstrated within the streptomycete type strains. These data indicate that streptomycetes are well equipped to degrade chitin. The detection of group A chitinases in total community DNA is described and a sandy soil shown to contain more than 10 different genes using DGGE to indicate genetic diversity.