Making Useful Enzymes from Seaweed with Marine Bacteria

Jenn Hoskins
26th February, 2024

Making Useful Enzymes from Seaweed with Marine Bacteria

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

In the quest for sustainable solutions to our energy and health challenges, scientists have been exploring the depths of the ocean, uncovering the potential of marine organisms and their enzymes. One such enzyme, alginate lyase, has emerged as a star player in the biotechnology field. It has the ability to break down alginate, a complex sugar found in brown seaweed, into simpler, valuable compounds. These compounds have applications ranging from biofuel production to medical treatments, particularly for patients with cystic fibrosis, where biofilms formed by bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause severe lung infections[2]. The recent study conducted by researchers at the Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education has made a significant leap in the production of alginate lyase[1]. They have turned to a method known as solid-state fermentation (SSF), which is more energy-efficient and cost-effective than traditional fermentation processes. SSF uses a solid material, in this case, brown seaweed, as a substrate for the growth of microorganisms that produce enzymes. The study's breakthrough lies in its use of the marine bacterium Enterobacter tabaci RAU2C, which was cultivated on the seaweed Sargassum swartzii to produce alginate lyase. The researchers meticulously optimized the conditions for the SSF process, such as the incubation period and moisture content, to maximize enzyme production. They discovered that maintaining a 75% moisture level for four days resulted in the highest yield of alginate lyase, reaching 33.56 U/mL. This finding is particularly exciting because it demonstrates the feasibility of using seaweed, an abundant and renewable resource, as a substrate for enzyme production on a large scale. Moreover, the study explored the effects of various buffers, pH levels, and temperatures on the activity of the produced alginate lyase. They found that the enzyme showed maximum activity in a phosphate buffer at a neutral pH of 7 and a temperature of 37 °C. This aligns with the characteristics of other alginate lyases previously identified, such as AlgA from Bacillus sp. Alg07, which also favored a neutral pH and had a high specific activity[3]. The implications of this study are far-reaching. Not only does it provide a method for producing alginate lyase more sustainably, but it also suggests a secondary use for the residual seaweed biomass as a biofertilizer, adding an extra layer of environmental benefit. Previous research has highlighted the importance of alginate lyases in various applications. For instance, the cold-adapted enzyme Alys1 from Tamlana sp. s12 showed promise for industrial applications due to its ability to operate at lower temperatures and its preference for breaking down mannuronate over guluronate, two components of alginate[4]. Similarly, the enzyme AlyP1400 from a marine Pseudoalteromonas bacterium demonstrated potential in medical applications by enhancing the effectiveness of antibiotics against biofilms[2]. The current study builds upon these earlier findings by not only identifying a new source of alginate lyase but also by refining the production process to be more environmentally and economically viable. The use of SSF with seaweed as a substrate could revolutionize the way we produce these enzymes, making them more accessible for both industrial and medical uses. In conclusion, the research from the Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education opens up new avenues for the bioprocessing of brown seaweeds, harnessing the power of marine bacteria to meet our industrial and medical needs. With the optimized production of alginate lyase, we are one step closer to a future where sustainable biotechnology can provide solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.

BiotechBiochemMarine Biology


Main Study

1) Solid-state fermentation of brown seaweeds for the production of alginate lyase using marine bacterium Enterobacter tabaci RAU2C.

Published 24th February, 2024

Related Studies

2) Disruption of the extracellular polymeric network of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms by alginate lyase enhances pathogen eradication by antibiotics.

3) Purification and Characterization of a Novel Alginate Lyase from the Marine Bacterium Bacillus sp. Alg07.

4) Characterization of a New Biofunctional, Exolytic Alginate Lyase from Tamlana sp. s12 with High Catalytic Activity and Cold-Adapted Features.

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