Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 21, Issue 3–4, pp 238–244 | Cite as

Studies on the extracellular xylanase activity of some thermophilic actinomycetes

  • Alan J. McCarthy
  • Edwin Peace
  • Paul Broda


An agar plate-clearing assay was used to screen 37 thermophilic actinomycete strains for extracellular xylanase production. The xylanase activity in culture supernatants of strains representing Saccharomonospora viridis and three Thermomonospora spp. was characterised by measurement of reducing sugar released from oat spelt xylan and analysis of degradation products by thin-layer chromatography. In all four species, xylanase activity was optimal within the temperature range 60–75°C and between pH 5 and pH 8. While culture supernatants of Thermomonospora strains incubated at 70°C for 60 min retained >80% of their activity, that of S. viridis was almost, totally inactivated.

All of the culture supernatants initially hydrolysed xylan to a mixture of oligomeric products, indicating that the main activity was of the endoxylanase type. Prolonged incubation for 24h resulted in the hydrolysis of xylan to d-xylose by T curvata and T. fusca preparations, indicating the additional presence of exoxylanase or β-xylosidase activity. Xylanase production was induced by growth on xylan although low levels of activity were also detected in glucose-grown cultures. Thermomonospora curvata MT815 culture supernatant was the most active and produced d-xylose from milled wheat straw in yields approximately 10% of those from oat spelt xylan.


Straw Culture Supernatant Wheat Straw Xylanase Activity Fusca 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bisaria VS, Ghose TK (1981) Biodegradation of cellulosic materials: substrates, microorganisms, enzymes and products. Enzyme Microbiol Technol 3:90–104Google Scholar
  2. Cross T, Attwell RW (1974) Recovery of viable thermoactinomycete endospores from deep mud cores. In: Barker AN, Gould GW, Wolf J (eds) Spore research 1973. Academic Press, London, pp 11–20Google Scholar
  3. Dekker RFH, Richards GN (1976) Hemicellases: their occurrence purification, properties, and mode of action. In: Tipson RS, Horton D (eds) Advances in carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry. Academic Press, London, pp 278–352Google Scholar
  4. Esteban R, Villanueva JR, Villa TG (1982) D-Xylanases of Bacillus circulans WL-12. Can J Microbiol 28:733–739Google Scholar
  5. Fogarty WM, Griffin PJ, Joyce AM (1974) Enzymes of Bacillus species—Part 1. Process Biochem 9:11–24Google Scholar
  6. Hägerdal B, Ferchak JD, Pye EK (1978) Cellulolytic enzyme system of Thermoactinomyces sp. grown on microcrystalline cellulose Appl Environ Microbiol 36:606–612Google Scholar
  7. Ishaque M, Kluepfel D (1981) Froducttion of xylanolytic enzymes by Streptomyces flavogriseus. Biotechnol Lett 3:481–486Google Scholar
  8. Johnson WC, Lindsey AJ (1939) An improved universal buffer. Analyst 64:490–492Google Scholar
  9. Kluepfel D, Ishaque M (1982) Xylan-induced cellulolytic enzymes in Streptomyces flavogriseus. In: Underkofler LA (ed) Developments in industrial microbiology, Society for Industrial Microbiology, Virginia, pp 389–396Google Scholar
  10. Kusakabe I, Kawaguchi M, Yasui T, Kobayashi T (1977) Purification and some properties of extracellular xylanase from Streptomyces sp. E-86. Nippon Nogei Kagaku Kaishi 51:429–437Google Scholar
  11. Lynch JM, Slater JH, Bennett JA, Harper SHT (1981) Cellulase activities of some aerobic micro-organisms isolated from soil. J Gen Microbiol 127:231–236Google Scholar
  12. McCarthy AJ, Cross T (1984) A taxonomic study of Thermomonospora and other monosporic actinomycetes. J Gen Microbiol 130:5–25Google Scholar
  13. Miller GL (1959) Use of dinitrosalicylic acid reagent for determination of reducing sugan. Anal Chem 31:426–428Google Scholar
  14. Nakanishi K, Yasui T, Kobayashi T (1976) Inducers for the xylanase production by Streptomyces sp. J Ferment Technol 54:801–807Google Scholar
  15. Okazaki W, Akiba T, Horikoshi K, Akahoshi R (1984) Production and properties of two types of xylanases from alkalophilic thermophilic Bacillus spp. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 19:335–340Google Scholar
  16. Sonnleitner B, Fiechter A (1983) Advantages of using thermophiles in biotechnological processes: expectations and reality. Trends Biotechnol 1:74–80Google Scholar
  17. Sreenath HK, Joseph R, Murthy VS (1978) Studies on xylan hydrolases from different strains of Streptomyces and their mutual influences in the breakdown of xylan. Folia Microbiol 23:299–303Google Scholar
  18. Stutzenberger FJ (1979) Degradation of cellulosic substances by Thermomonospora curvata. Biotechnol Bioeng 21:909–913Google Scholar
  19. Uchino F, Nakane T (1981) A thermostable xylanase from a thermophilic acidophilic Bacillus sp. Agric Biol Chem 45:1121–1127Google Scholar
  20. Whistler RL, Richards EL (1970) Hemicelluloses. In: Pigman W, Horton D (eds) The carbohydrates, vol 2A. Academic Press, London, pp 447–469Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan J. McCarthy
    • 1
  • Edwin Peace
    • 1
  • Paul Broda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Applied Molecular BiologyUniversity of Manchester Institute of Science and TechnologyManchesterEngland

Personalised recommendations