Applied and environmental microbiology

Purification and Characterization of a Keratinase from a Feather-Degrading Bacillus licheniformis Strain.

PMID 16348784


A keratinase was isolated from the culture medium of feather-degrading Bacillus licheniformis PWD-1 by use of an assay of the hydrolysis of azokeratin. Membrane ultrafiltration and carboxymethyl cellulose ion-exchange and Sephadex G-75 gel chromatographies were used to purify the enzyme. The specific activity of the purified keratinase relative to that in the original medium was approximately 70-fold. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis and Sephadex G-75 chromatography indicated that the purified keratinase is monomeric and has a molecular mass of 33 kDa. The optimum pH and the pI were determined to be 7.5 and 7.25, respectively. Under standard assay conditions, the apparent temperature optimum was 50 degrees C. The enzyme is stable when stored at -20 degrees C. The purified keratinase hydrolyzes a broad range of substrates and displays higher proteolytic activity than most proteases. In practical applications, keratinase is a useful enzyme for promoting the hydrolysis of feather keratin and improving the digestibility of feather meal.

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K4519 Keratinase, lyophilized powder