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Degradation of raw feather by a novel high molecular weight extracellular protease from newly isolated Bacillus cereus DCUW


Biotreatment of feather wastes and utilization of the degraded products in feed and foodstuffs has been a challenge. In the present study, we have demonstrated the degradation of feather waste by Bacillus cereus DCUW strain isolated during a functional screening based microbial diversity study on East Calcutta Wetland Area. A high molecular weight keratinolytic protease from feather degrading DCUW strain was purified and characterized. Moreover, utilization of degraded products during feather hydrolysis was developed and demonstrated. The purified keratinolytic protease was found to show pH and temperature optima of 8.5 and 50 °C, respectively. PMSF was found to inhibit the enzyme completely. The purified enzyme showed molecular weight of 80 kDa (from SDS-PAGE). The protease was found to have broad range substrate specificities that include keratin, casein, collagen, fibrin, BAPNA and gelatin. The protease was identified as minor extracellular protease (Vpr) by RT-PCR and northern blotting techniques. This is the first report describing the characterization of minor extracellular protease (Vpr) and its involvement in feather degradation in B. cereus group of organisms.

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This study was supported by a grant from the special assistance program of the Department of Biochemistry, University Grants Commission, India. Support for DNA sequencing was obtained from the NCMP grant to University of Calcutta, India. Abhrajyoti Ghosh thanks the Guha Research Endowment Fund for financial assistance. This work was partially financed by Sun Biotechnology Ltd., Kolkata, India. The authors also acknowledge the support from Mr. Aloke Sen.

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Correspondence to Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay.

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Ghosh, A., Chakrabarti, K. & Chattopadhyay, D. Degradation of raw feather by a novel high molecular weight extracellular protease from newly isolated Bacillus cereus DCUW. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 35, 825–834 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10295-008-0354-5

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  • Feather degradation
  • Serine protease
  • Bacillus cereus DCUW
  • Reverse transcription PCR(RT-PCR)
  • Minor extracellular protease (Vpr)