Isolation and characterisation of lignocellulose degrading bacteria from Tyume River in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

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University of Fort Hare
Faculty of Science and Agriculture, Department of Chemistry.


This study focuses on the isolation and characterization of bacteria from lignocellulosic biomass obtained from the sediments of the Tyume River in Alice, Eastern Cape and to determine those bacterial isolates with good potential for modification and decomposition of lignocellulosic biomass for industrial application. Several bacterial isolates were recovered and screened for ability to degrade various lignocellulosic materials. Nine of the isolates were positive for lignocellulolytic activity. Four isolates were cellulase positive and six were xylanase positive. Moreover, one isolate (SB1) was positive for both xylanase and cellulase activities and showed the best hydrolysis zone on solid media. This isolate was then chosen as the best and identified molecularly. The 16S rDNA sequence analysis indicated that SB1 was a Bacillus cereus species. Factors affecting the cellulose and xylanase enzyme production by the organisms were studied. The organisms produced the enzymes maximally at earlier hours of incubation (12-30 hr) and optimally at acidic pH (3-5) and at moderate temperatures (35-45ºC). SB1 appears to hold promise in the decomposition of lignocellulosic wastes.