Enzyme-Producing Marine Bacterium Isolated

Isolation of carrageenase and agarase-producing bacterium from sea urchin

Enzymes are needed for the isolation of protoplasts (the living content of a cell) from the seaweeds Kappaphycus and Gracilaria. carrageenase and agarase enzymes hydrolyze carrageenan and agar, respectively, and are considered useful in the isolation of protoplasts from seaweed species. These enzymes, however, are either unavailable or if ever available, can be very expensive.
Carrageenase and agarase-producing marine bacterial isolate, GALO1 had been isolated ealier in the laboratory under the Department of Science and Technology-United Nations Development Programme GAINEX project on Seedstock Improvement Project by researchers of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute.
In the first year of the project "Biotechnology of Gracilaria and Kappaphycus" with funding support from the DOST and coordinated by the Los Banos-based PCAMRD, another marine bacterium labeled as GALO1 was isolated from a sea urchin gathered from a nearby seaweed farm. It was observed that the bacterium form orange-colored depression-forming units that resemble those in GALO1 on Marine Agar (MA) and Marine Carrageenan (MC) plates. Both MA and MC can be hydrolyzed by GALO2 in two to three weeks. As compared to GALO1 which had greater activity on agar substrate, GALO2, on the other hand, had greater activity on agar substrate, although the latter also exhibited activity which is not favorable to carrageenan. Specifically, GALO1 is continuously maintained on MC plates and are being used for producing carrageenase while GALO2 is continuously maintained on MA and are being used for producing agarase.
The development of techniques/protocols for the laboratory-scale production of carrageenase and agarase is being looked into to address the problem of unavailability of these enzymes. Once this problem is addressed, the development of protoplast isolation protocols for the two seaweed species could then be pursued starting at downstream processing/recovery of enzyme. Later on, purification of carrageenase and agarase will be conducted for possible commercialization of the enzymes.
Once the laboratory-scale production is attained, it will lead to the optimization not only of the culture medium and its components but alos several parameters such as temperature and pH that will enhance the production of the enzyme.