Isolating Lysobacter enzymogenes strains with enhanced protease activity via chemical mutagenesis

Proteases are the most important industrial enzymes which have attracted enormous attention due to their vast variety and well-defined specificity. Microbial proteases are superior to other sources like plant and animal proteases because of their desired characteristics for biotechnological application. In this regard, Lysobacter enzymogenes is a rich source for the production of antibiotics and proteases. However, strain improvement in order to obtain overproduced microorganisms is always demanded at an industrial scale. Therefore, in the present study in order to enhance L. enzymogenes protease production, random mutagenesis was applied using N-methyl-N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (NTG) as a chemical mutagen. Random mutagenesis was conducted on L. enzymogenes suspension cultivated on nutrient broth using different concentrations of NTG (100, 150, and 200 µg/ml) for 20 and 40 minutes. The treated bacteria were cultivated on nutrient agar containing casein as a selective media. Primary and secondary screenings were performed by measuring the diameter of the casein hydrolysis zones in the isolated bacteria and the related supernatants, respectively. Finally, the unit of protease activity was quantified by Anson’s method of examining bacterial supernatants. Among the total of 30 isolated mutants, two mutants showed the highest level of extracellular proteolytic activity which showed 2.65 and 1.86 fold increments in contrast to the wild type, respectively. In general, the effect of mutagenesis by NTG can be emphasized to increase protease activity.

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