The Open Biotechnology Journal

ISSN: ― Volume ,

Isolation and Characterization of a Thermostable Cellulase from Bacillus licheniformis Strain Vic Isolated from Geothermal Wells in the Kenyan Rift Valley

Irene K. Kiio1, *, Mulaa F. Jackim1, Wamalwa B. Munyali2, Edward K. Muge1
1 Department of Biochemistry University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
2 Department of Chemistry University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya


Cellulolytic microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria are responsible for much of the cellulose degradation in soils. Despite the vast number of cellulase producers, there is a deficiency of microorganisms that can produce significant amount of the three components of a cellulase system. i.e. CMCases, exoglucanases and β-glucosidases to efficiently degrade cellulose to fermentable products.

Soil samples were collected from two sites of the Kenyan Rift valley; Hell’s gate National Park and a geothermal well in Eburru hill at depths of 155 m, 156 m and 157 m. Isolation of cellulolytic bacteria was carried out using minimal media supplemented with 1% CMC. Isolates obtained were characterized using both morphological and molecular methods. A quantitative cellulolytic test was carried out to select the isolate with the highest specific activity. Additionally the cell-free supernatant was used for functional studies to determine the isolate’s cellulase system components, optimum temperature, pH and time stability.

Phylogenetic analyses indicated that all isolates associated mainly with members of the Bacillus licheniformis. All isolates were capable of utilizing CMC, avicel and Cellobiose as their sole carbon sources. Isolate 3 from a depth of 156 m in the well was identified as Bacillus licheniformis strain vic and selected for further functional studies. This isolate was found to bear the three enzyme components of a cellulase system. A cell free extract was noted to hydrolysecellobiose, Avicel and CMC with enzyme specific activities of 0.46878 U/mg, 0.18784 U/mg and 0.13571 U/mg respectively. Optimum temperature for activity measured over 60 minutes was found to be 60oC with relatively high activity at both 70oC and 80oC. The optimum pH at the predetermined optimum temperature was found to be pH 5. The crude enzyme extract was stable for eight hours of incubation at 60oC and pH 5 retaining 92.2% of its activity. This makes B.licheniformis strain vic a quite attractive isolate for potential application in industries.

Keywords: Cellulolytic, CMCase, Exoglucanase, Thermostable, β-Glucosidase.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2016
Volume: 10
First Page: 198
Last Page: 207
Publisher Id: TOBIOTJ-10-198
DOI: 10.2174/1874070701610010198

Article History:

Received Date: 28/9/2015
Revision Received Date: 24/11/2015
Acceptance Date: 28/1/2016
Electronic publication date: 30/04/2016
Collection year: 2016

© Kiio et al. ; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biochemistry University of Nairobi, P.O BOX 30197 - 00100 Nairobi, Kenya;

Track Your Manuscript:


"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."

Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."

Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."

Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."

Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."

Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."

Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."

Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."

J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."

Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."

Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."

Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."

Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."

Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."

M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."

Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."

Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."

Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."

Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."

Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."

Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)

Browse Contents

Webmaster Contact:
Copyright © 2020 Bentham Open