Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 19, pp 8351–8358 | Cite as

A novel β-propeller phytase from the dioxin-degrading bacterium Sphingomonas wittichii RW-1

  • Anna Maria Sanangelantoni
  • Marina Malatrasi
  • Elisa Trivelloni
  • Giovanna Visioli
  • Caterina AgrimontiEmail author
Biotechnologically relevant enzymes and proteins


β-propeller phytase-like sequences (BPP-like sequences) are widespread in the microbial world and have been found in the sequenced genomes of aquatic, soil, and plant bacteria. Exploring NCBI microbial genome database for putative genes encoding phytase, a BPP-like sequence from Sphingomonas wittichii RW-1 (Sequence ID: CP000699.1), known for its capacity of degrading polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, was recognized. The putative phytase gene (phySw) was amplified with specific primers, cloned, and overexpressed in Escherichia coli and the catalytic properties of the recombinant PhySw protein were analyzed. The results show that phySw encodes an enzyme with the properties of β-propeller phytases: it requires the presence of Ca2+ ions, it is optimally active at 55 °C, and it has a pH optimum of 6.0 with good activity in the range 6.0–8.0. Furthermore, the enzyme exhibits a good thermostability, recovering 68% of its original activity after treatment at 80 °C for 10 min, and shows a good substrate specificity for phytic acid. These properties render this enzyme a candidate as an animal feed additive (e.g., for aquaculture industry). The isolation of phytases from a hydrocarbon-utilizing microorganism also opens new scenarios for their possible application in combating oil pollution.


Sphingomonas wittichii Phytate β-propeller phytase Heterologous expression Thermostability Animal feed Bioremediation 



The authors are also grateful to Technopole SITEIA-Parma (Regione Emilia-Romagna) and Prof Nelson Marmiroli for allowing access to technical infrastructures.


This research was in part supported by funding to Prof. Anna Maria Sanangelantoni from FIL of the University of Parma (Local Funding for Research).

Compliance with ethical standards

No animal and/or human were employed in this work.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental SustainabilityUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.ISI Sementi s.p.aParmaItaly

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