World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 2651–2659 | Cite as

Hydrolytic activity of Virgibacillus sp. SK37, a starter culture of fish sauce fermentation, and its cell-bound proteinases

  • Sornchai Sinsuwan
  • Sureelak Rodtong
  • Jirawat YongsawatdigulEmail author
Original Paper


Fish sauce production relies on a natural fermentation process requiring 12–18 months for process completion. Virgibacillus sp. SK37 has been shown to be a potential strain for fish sauce acceleration. However, hydrolytic activity of proteinases bound at cell surface of this strain has not been well elucidated. Addition of 0.2 % CaCl2 (w/w) in conjunction with starter cultures of Virgibacillus sp. SK 37 increased protein hydrolysis as measured by α-amino group content throughout fermentation (P < 0.05). Cell-bound proteinases from Virgibacillus sp. SK 37 were extracted into a free form by incubating the washed cells in Ca2+-free buffer at 37 °C for 2 h. Cell-bound proteinases revealed molecular mass of 19, 20, 22, 32, 34, and 44 kDa based on a synthetic peptide zymogram. The proteinases showed subtilisin-like serine characteristics with the highest activity at 50 °C and pH 8 and 11. Activity of the extracted proteinases increased ~4 times at ≥100 mM CaCl2. In addition, CaCl2 enhanced thermal stability of the extracted proteinases. Enzymes showed proteolytic activity in either the absence or presence of 10 and 25 % NaCl toward fish muscle, soy protein isolate, and casein substrates. Cell-bound proteinases were likely to play an important role in protein hydrolysis during fish sauce fermentation.


Virgibacillus sp. Moderately halophilic bacterium Cell-bound proteinase Fish sauce fermentation 



This work was supported by a research grant from the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand under research agreement No. BT-B-01-FT-19-5014 and Suranaree University of Technology under a Food Protein Research Unit Grant Agreement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sornchai Sinsuwan
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sureelak Rodtong
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jirawat Yongsawatdigul
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Food Technology, Institute of Agricultural TechnologySuranaree University of TechnologyNakhon RatchasimaThailand
  2. 2.School of Microbiology, Institute of ScienceSuranaree University of TechnologyNakhon RatchasimaThailand
  3. 3.Microbial Cultures Research Center for Food and Bioplastics ProductionSuranaree University of TechnologyNakhon RatchasimaThailand

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