Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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Halophilic bacteria form a versatile group adapted to life at varying concentrations of salt. They have the potential to yield
valuable new products for biotechnology. Most saline environments have an influx and presence of plant matter and hence, the resident microbes can be expected to harbor the machinery for biomass exploitation. Agricultural residues (lignocellulosic biomass) are mainly composed of (on dry weight basis) - cellulose (40-60%), hemicellulose (xylan - 20-40%) and lignin (10-25%).
These lignocelluloses are generally pretreated to remove lignin and increase the porosity of the materials. Alkaline and enzymatic
pretreatment of wheat bran was carried out. Cost of the growth medium in industrial fermentations is estimated to account for
about 40% of the production costs. In biotechnological production processes, where even small improvements can be decisive for
commercial success, optimization of production parameters plays a very significant role.
Several strains of biopolymer degrading bacteria isolated from sea coasts and solar salterns of coastal Karnataka were
screened for the production of compatible solute (ectoine) and extracellular enzymes (xylanase and cellulase). Ectoine production
by strain PS6 was detected by HPLC analysis. In the alkaline range, strain PS3 yielded higher amount of xylanase in agro-residue
media. Strain PS47 was found to produce higher yields of cellulase at a neutral pH. These bacteria were able to utilize a number
of agro-wastes for higher yields of products. Statistical optimization techniques like Placket-Burman design and response surface
methodologies were further adopted to increase the product yield.
Pooja S is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in the Department of Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, Mangalore, under the guidance of Dr. Gopal Mugeraya. She has done M.S. (By Research) along with teaching-cum-research assistantship from VIT
University, Tamil Nadu and Bachelor of Engineering (Biotechnology) from BVBCET Hubli, Karnataka. She has received DAAD scholarship for short-term Ph.D. studies in the Institute for Microbiology and Biotechnology, Bonn, Germany in 2011. She has four research publications to her credit. She has received the Best technical paper award in the 39th ISTE annual convention (2009) held at NITK Surathkal.
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