, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 663–671 | Cite as

Degradation properties of various macromolecules of cultivable psychrophilic bacteria from the deep-sea water of the South Pacific Gyre

  • Li Zhang
  • Yan Wang
  • Jing Liang
  • Qinghao Song
  • Xiao-Hua ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


The deep-sea water of the South Pacific Gyre (SPG, 20°S–45°S) is a cold and ultra-oligotrophic environment that is the source of cold-adapted enzymes. However, the characteristic features of psychrophilic enzymes derived from culturable microbes in the SPG remained largely unknown. In this study, the degradation properties of 174 cultures from the deep water of the SPG were used to determine the diversity of cold-adapted enzymes. Thus, the abilities to degrade polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and DNA at 4, 16, and 28 °C were investigated. Most of the isolates showed one or more extracellular enzyme activities, including amylase, chitinase, cellulase, lipase, lecithinase, caseinase, gelatinase, and DNase at 4, 16, and 28 °C. Moreover, nearly 85.6 % of the isolates produced cold-adapted enzymes at 4 °C. The psychrophilic enzyme-producing isolates distributed primarily in Alteromonas and Pseudoalteromonas genera of the Gammaproteobacteria. Pseudoalteromonas degraded 9 types of macromolecules but not cellulose, Alteromonas secreted 8 enzymes except for cellulase and chitinase. Interestingly, the enzymatic activities of Gammaproteobacteria isolates at 4 °C were higher than those observed at 16 or 28 °C. In addition, we cloned and expressed a gene encoding an α-amylase (Amy2235) from Luteimonas abyssi XH031T, and examined the properties of the recombinant protein. These cold-active enzymes may have huge potential for academic research and industrial applications. In addition, the capacity of the isolates to degrade various types of organic matter may indicate their unique ecological roles in the elemental biogeochemical cycling of the deep biosphere.


Cold-adapted enzymes Deep-sea water Screening South Pacific Gyre (SPG) α-Amylase 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41276141), and the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Programs, No. 2013AA092103).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

792_2016_856_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1960 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yan Wang
    • 1
  • Jing Liang
    • 1
  • Qinghao Song
    • 1
  • Xiao-Hua Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Marine Life SciencesOcean University of ChinaQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental ScienceQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Life ScienceQingdao Agriculture UniversityQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China

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