School of Biotechnology, GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi, India.
During the previous decade, chitinases have received increased attention because of their wide range of applications. Chito-oligomers produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of chitin have been of interest in recent years because of their broad applications in medical, agricultural, and industrial applications, such as antibacterial, antifungal, hypo cholesterolemic, and antihypertensive activity, and as food quality enhancer. Fungal cell walls being rich in chitin also enable the use of chitinases in biocontrol of fungal pathogens, as bio-fungicides. An actinomycete was isolated from the bark of trees of Dehradun in India and was later identified as Streptomyces violaceusniger. This strain exhibits strong antagonism towards various wood-rotting fungi, such as Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Postia placenta, Coriolus versicolor, and Gloeophyllum trabeum. Further, studies showed an extracellular bioactive compound was responsible for the antagonism. The conditions for the production of this biocontrol agent were optimized, and the effects of various stress factors (like nitrogen-deficient media, carbon-deficient media, etc.) were studied. The presence of chitin in the growth media was found to be an essential factor for the active production of the biocontrol agent. The pH and temperature optima for the biocontrol agent were determined. Purification and characterization of this specific biocontrol agent was performed through anion exchange chromatography using a DEAE-cellulose column, and a single protein band was obtained on a 10% sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel. The protein was later identified as a 28 kDa endo chitinase by MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight) and by a chitobiose activity assay.
PMID: 17110971 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]