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  • Author or Editor: B. Chadha x
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Ten different strains of Thermomyces lanuginosus , isolated from composting soils were found to produce phytase when grown on PSM medium. The wild type strain CM was found to produce maximum amount of phytase (4.33 units/g DW substrate). Culturing T. lanuginosus strain CM on medium containing wheat bran and optimizing other culture conditions (carbon source, media type, nitrogen source, level of nitrogen, temperature, pH, inoculum age, inoculum level and moisture), increased the phytase yield to 13.26 units/g substrate. This culture was further subjected to UV mutagenesis for developing phytase hyperproducing mutants. The mutant (TL-7) showed 2.29-fold increase in phytase activity as compared to the parental strain. Employing Box-Behnken factor factorial design of response surface methodology resulted in optimized phytase production (32.19 units/g of substrate) by mutant TL-7. A simple two-step purification (40.75-folds) of phytase from mutant TL-7 was achieved by anion exchange and gel filtration chromatography. The purified phytase (∼54 kDa) was characterized to be optimally active at pH 5.0 and temperature 70 °C, though the enzyme showed ∼70% activity over a wide pH and temperature range (2.0–10.0 and 30–90 °C, respectively). The phytase showed broad substrate specificity with activity against sodium phytate, ADP and riboflavin phosphate. The phytase from T. lanuginosus was thermoacidstable as it showed up to 70% residual activity after exposure to 70 °C at pH 3.0 for 120 min. The enzyme showed K m 4.55 μM and V max 0.833 μM/min/mg against sodium phytate as substrate.

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134 fungal cultures isolated from different soil samples were screened for lovastatin production. Of these, 38 isolates produced different levels of lovastatin. An Aspergillus terreus strain GD 13 , producing 190 mg/l of lovastatin was selected and subjected to a rational mutation-selection programme based on the resistance to lovastatin and fatty acid synthase (FAS) inhibitors, viz., iodoacetamide and N-ethylmaleimide. After three cycles of mutagenesis, a hyper-producing mutant (EM 19 ) exhibiting 7.5-fold (1424 mg/l) higher levels of lovastatin when compared to wild type parent strain was obtained.

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