Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (v.144, #2)

The activated sludge process generates a large amount of excess sludge as a byproduct, which is one of the most serious challenges in biological wastewater treatment. In the present study, the feasibility of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP) and malonic acid (MA) as metabolic uncouplers to reduce sludge generation in the sequence batch reactor (SBR) for treating organic wastewater for a long period was studied. The results showed that 2 mg/L TCP could reduce sludge generation by about 47%, while chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency and sludge settlability were not obviously influenced. Although 10 mg/L MA could also reduce excess sludge production by about 30% while slightly affecting COD removal, it seriously deteriorated sludge settlability. Accordingly, TCP is a better uncoupler for sludge reduction for a longer period in the SBR for treating organic wastewater, and MA can only be used as a short-term or transitional uncoupler. Microscopic and 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid analyses showed that the microbial population of sludge varied when uncouplers were fed to the activated sludge system. Occurrence of large amounts of filament and the disappearance of protozoa may be the main reason for the aggravation of sludge settlability under uncoupled metabolic conditions caused by MA.
Keywords: COD removal; Microbial population; Sludge reduction; Sludge settling; Uncoupling metabolism

The extracellular inulinase in the supernatant of the cell culture of the marine yeast Cryptococcus aureus G7a was purified to homogeneity with a 7.2-fold increase in specific inulinase activity compared to that in the supernatant by ultrafiltration, concentration, gel filtration chromatography (Sephadex™ G-75), and anion exchange chromatography (DEAE sepharose fast flow anion exchange). The molecular mass of the purified enzyme was estimated to be 60.0 kDa. The optimal pH and temperature of the purified enzyme were 5.0 and 50 °C, respectively. The enzyme was activated by Ca2+, K+, Na+, Fe2+, and Zn2+. However, Mg2+, Hg2+, and Ag+ acted as inhibitors in decreasing the activity of the purified inulinase. The enzyme was strongly inhibited by phenylmethanesulphonyl fluoride (PMSF), iodoacetic acid, EDTA, and 1,10-phenanthroline. The K m and V max values of the purified enzyme for inulin were 20.06 mg/ml and 0.0085 mg/min, respectively. A large amount of monosaccharides were detected after the hydrolysis of inulin with the purified inulinase, indicating the purified inulinase had a high exoinulinase activity.
Keywords: Inulinase; Marine yeasts; Inulin; Characterization; Cryptococcus aureus G7a

Kiwifruit Actinidin: A Proper New Collagenase for Isolation of Cells from Different Tissues by Ali Mostafaie; Ali Bidmeshkipour; Zeinab Shirvani; Kamran Mansouri; Maryam Chalabi (123-131).
Actinidin is a cysteine protease abundant in Kiwifruit. This enzyme is known as a meat-tenderizing protease. In this project, actinidin was purified from kiwifruit by salt precipitation and ion exchange chromatography. Collagenolytic effect of the purified enzyme was tested in four different buffer systems. Thereafter, the enzyme was used for isolation and culture of cells from three different tissues: endothelial cells from human umbilical vein, hepatocytes from rat liver, and thymic epithelial cells from rat thymus. Our results revealed that actinidin can hydrolyze collagen types I and II at neutral and alkaline buffers. Furthermore, actinidin compared with type II or IV collagenase isolated intact human umbilical vein endothelial cells, hepatocytes, and thymic epithelial cells with viability more than 90%. These results address a novel and valuable collagenase, which can be used efficiently for hydrolysis of collagen and isolation of different cell populations from various solid tissues.
Keywords: Actinidin; Collagenase; Hepatocytes; Kiwifruit; Thymic epithelial cells; Umbilical vein endothelial cells

The optimization of nutrient levels for the production of pristinamycins by Streptomyces pristinaespiralis CGMCC 0957 in submerged fermentation was carried out using the statistical methodologies based on the Plackett–Burman design, the steepest ascent method, and the central composite design (CCD). First, the Plackett–Burman design was applied to evaluate the influence of related nutrients in the medium. Soluble starch and MgSO4·7H2O were then identified as the most significant nutrients with a confidence level of 99%. Subsequently, the concentrations of the two nutrients were further optimized using response surface methodology of CCD, together with the steepest ascent method. Accordingly, a second-order polynomial regression model was finally fitted to the experimental data. By solving the regression equation from the model and analyzing the response surface, the optimal levels for soluble starch and MgSO4·7H2O were determined as 20.95 and 5.67g/L, respectively. Under the optimized medium, the yield of pristinamycins in the shake flask and 5-L bioreactor could reach 1.30 and 1.01g/L, respectively, which is the highest yield reported in literature to date.
Keywords: Streptomyces pristinaespiralis ; Pristinamycins; Production medium; Optimization; Response surface methodology

Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Penicillin for 6-APA Production in Three-Liquid-Phase System by Yangyang Jiang; Hansong Xia; Chen Guo; Iram Mahmood; Huizhou Liu (145-159).
A dodecane/thermosensitive polymer/water three-liquid-phase system was introduced for enzymatic hydrolysis of penicillin G (Pen G) for 6-aminopenicillanic acid (6-APA). The enzyme was covalently attached to the terminal of PEO–PPO–PEO polymer (L63), which would be transferred into a polymer coacervate phase at high temperature above its “cloud point”. 6-APA was primarily resided in the aqueous phase due to its zwitterionic nature. More than 70% phenylacetic acid (PAA) was transferred into the organic phase using trioctylmethylammonium hydroxide and trihexyl-(tetradecyl)phosphonium bis 2,4,4-trimethylpentylphosphinate ionic liquids (Cyphos IL-104) mixture at pH 5.5, while most of Pen G resided in water. As a result, high operational pH was permitted in three-liquid-phase system, which leads to higher enzymatic activity (120 IU at 40°C) and stability (enzymatic half-time up to 55 h at 60°C) in comparison with the value in butyl acetate/water two-phase system. On the other hand, two products in three-liquid-phase system might be automatically separated from the enzyme sphere into different phases at the same time, which facilitated the reaction equilibrium towards the product’s side with 6-APA productivity of 80% at 42°C, pH 5.5.
Keywords: Three-liquid-phase system; Covalent attachment; PEO–PPO–PEO polymer (L63); Ionic liquids (Cyphos IL-104); Penicillin G acylase; 6-aminopenicillanic acid (6-APA)

The influence of Ca-Montmorillonite (Ca-MNT) and zeolite NaY addition on ethanol production from synthetic molasses by S. cerevisiae 251 TP(3-2) was studied by the measurement of biomass concentrations and metal ion concentration with respect to fermentation time. Addition of 5 g/L Ca-MNT and 10 g/L zeolite NaY resulted in an increase in both ethanol concentration and ethanol production rate. This increase was 24 and 40% for ethanol concentration and 65 and 87% for production rate, respectively. From the ion analyses, it was observed that the NaY added to the medium decreased the toxic concentration of zinc, manganese, and iron cations and acted also as a pH regulator. Ca-MNT added to the medium decreased the concentration of Na+ ions, which is known to have a toxic effect on glycolysis and cell concentration. These effects caused improvement in the ethanol production rate.
Keywords: S. cerevisiae ; Zeolite; Clay mineral; Sucrose; Ethanol; Fermentation

Immobilization of Horseradish Peroxidase on Nonwoven Polyester Fabric Coated with Chitosan by Saleh A. Mohamed; A. S. Aly; Tarek M. Mohamed; Hala A. Salah (169-179).
The immobilization of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) on composite membrane has been investigated. This membrane was prepared by coating nonwoven polyester fabric with chitosan glutamate in the presence of glutraldehyde as a crosslinking agent. The physico-chemical properties of soluble and immobilized HRP were evaluated. The soluble HRP lost 90% of its activity after 4 weeks of storage at 4°C, whereas the immobilized enzyme retained 85% of its original activity at the same time. A reusability study of immobilized HRP showed that the enzyme retained 54% of its activity after 10 cycles of reuse. Soluble and immobilized HRP showed the same pH optima at pH 5.5. The immobilized enzyme had significant stability at different pH values, where it had maximum stability at pH 3.0 and 6.0. The kinetic properties indicated that the immobilized enzyme had more affinity toward substrates than soluble enzyme. The soluble and immobilized enzymes had temperature optima at 30 and 40°C and were stable up to 40 and 50°C, respectively. The stability of HRP against metal ion inactivation was improved after immobilization. Immobilized HRP exhibited high resistance to proteolysis by trypsin. The immobilized HRP was more resistant to inactivation induced by urea, Triton X-100, and organic solvents compared to its soluble counterpart. The immobilized HRP showed very high yield of immobilization and markedly high stabilization against several forms of denaturants that offer potential for several applications.
Keywords: Horseradish; Peroxidase; Chitosan; Nonwoven fabric; Immobilization

Solubilization and Refolding with Simultaneous Purification of Recombinant Human Stem Cell Factor by Chaozhan Wang; Jiahua Liu; Lili Wang; Xindu Geng (181-189).
Recombinant human stem cell factor (rhSCF) was solubilized and renatured from inclusion bodies expressed in Escherichia coli. The effect of both pH and urea on the solubilization of rhSCF inclusion bodies was investigated; the results indicate that the solubilization of rhSCF inclusion bodies was significantly influenced by the pH of the solution employed, and low concentration of urea can drastically improve the solubilization of rhSCF when solubilized by high pH solution. The solubilized rhSCF can be easily refolded with simultaneous purification by ion exchange chromatography (IEC), with a specific activity of 7.8 × 105 IU·mg−1, a purity of 96.3%, and a mass recovery of 43.0%. The presented experimental results show that rhSCF solubilized by high pH solution containing low concentration of urea is easier to be renatured than that solubilized by high concentration of urea, and the IEC refolding method was more efficient than dilution refolding and dialysis refolding for rhSCF. It may have a great potential for large-scale production of rhSCF.
Keywords: Recombinant human stem cell factor; Solubilization of inclusion bodies; Protein refolding; Purification; Ion exchange chromatography; Protein folding liquid chromatography

Polygalacturonases are part of the group of enzymes involved in pectin degradation. The aim of this work was to investigate some of the factors affecting polygalacturonase production by an Aspergillus giganteus strain and to characterize this pectinolytic activity. Several carbon sources, both pure substances and natural substrates, were tested in standing cultures, and the best results were obtained with orange bagasse and purified citrus pectin. On citrus pectin as sole carbon source, the highest extracellular activity (9.5 U/ml and 40.6 U/mg protein) was obtained in 4.5-day-old cultures shaken at 120 rpm, pH 3.5 and 30°C, while on orange bagasse, the highest extracellular activity (48.5 U/ml and 78.3 U/mg protein) was obtained in 3.5-day-old cultures shaken at 120 rpm, pH 6.0 and 30°C. Optimal polygalacturonase activity was observed in assays conducted at pH 5.5–6.5 and 55–60°C. The activity showed good thermal stability, with half-lives of 90 and 30 min when incubated at 55 and 60°C, respectively. High stability was observed from pH 4.5 to 8.5; more than 90% of the activity remained after 24 h in this pH range.
Keywords: Polygalacturonase; Pectinolytic enzyme; Orange waste; Citrus pectin; Enzyme characterization; Aspergillus giganteus