Substrate Specificity of Bacillus megaterium UСM B-5710 Keratinase


  • K.V. Avdiyuk Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, NAS of Ukraine, 154 Akademika Zabolotnoho Str., Kyiv, 03143, Ukraine
  • L.D. Varbanets Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, NAS of Ukraine, 154 Akademika Zabolotnoho Str., Kyiv, 03143, Ukraine



Bacillus megaterium UCM B-5710, keratinase, substrate specificity, keratin-containing substrates, α-keratin, β-keratin


The specifics of the processing of livestock and poultry products is that in the process of obtaining the main marketable products, about half the feedstock at various stages of the technological process turns into waste that pollutes the environment. These by-products contain large amounts of the hard-to-digest keratin protein. The use of specific enzymes capable of degrading this protein helps not only to reduce the negative anthropogenic impact on nature but also to obtain valuable hydrolysates that can be used as a fertilizer for plants or a feed additive. The aim of this work was to study the ability of Bacillus megaterium UCM B-5710 to split various keratin-containing substrates: black and white chicken feathers, white turkey feathers, parrot feathers of various colors, sheep wool, pig bristles, and baby hair and nails. Methods. The culture was grown under conditions of submerged cultivation at 40 °C, with a nutrient medium stirring rate of 201 rpm for 6 days. For growth, a basic nutrient medium containing 0.5% defatted chicken feathers or other keratin-containing substrates as sole sources of carbon and nitrogen were used. Keratinase activity was assessed by UV absorption at 280 nm of hydrolysis products of keratin-containing raw materials. Protein was determined by the Lowry method, caseinolytic (total proteolytic) activity was determined by the Anson method modified by Petrova, and amino acid content was determined by the ninhydrin method. The degree of hydrolysis of the substrates was evaluated by the ratio of the initial and final weight of the substrate. Results. It was shown that the synthesis of keratinase by the culture of B. megaterium UCM B-5710 begins from the 6th hour of cultivation. The level of protein and proteolytic activity and the content of amino acids increased throughout the entire period of culture growth. The supernatant of the culture liquid of B. megaterium UCM B-5710 was most effective in splitting white chicken’s and turkey’s feathers, a little slower — feathers of black chicken and blue parrots, as well as wool of white sheep. According to the degree of splitting, the substrates used can be arranged in the following order: white turkey feathers > white chicken feathers > black chicken feathers > blue parrot feathers > white sheep wool > baby nails > pig bristle > baby hair. The study of the effect of feather color on the resistance to decomposition showed that black, blue, and red feathers are more resistant, which coincides with the literature data. Conclusions. B. megaterium UCM B-5710 produces keratinase capable of splitting both α- and β-keratins, however, with different efficiencies and rates.


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How to Cite

Avdiyuk, K., & Varbanets, L. (2023). Substrate Specificity of Bacillus megaterium UСM B-5710 Keratinase. Mikrobiolohichnyi Zhurnal, 85(5), 3–11.