Chromosomal integration of sfp gene in Bacillus subtilis to enhance bioavailability of hydrophobic liquids

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2005 Jun;67(6):789-94. doi: 10.1007/s00253-004-1847-4. Epub 2005 Feb 16.


Bacillus subtilis C9 effectively degrades aliphatic hydrocarbons up to a chain length of C19 and produces a lipopeptide-type biosurfactant, surfactin, yet it has no genetic competency. Therefore, to obtain a transformable surfactin producer, the sfp gene cloned from B. subtilis C9 was integrated into the chromosome of B. subtilis 168, a non-surfactin producer, by homologous recombination. The transformants reduced the surface tension of the culture broth from 70.0 mN/m to 28.0 mN/m, plus the surface-active compound produced by the transformants exhibited the same Rf value as that from B. subtilis C9 and authentic surfactin in a thin-layer chromatographic analysis. The integration of the sfp gene into the chromosome of B. subtilis 168 was confirmed by Southern hybridization. Like B. subtilis C9, the transformants readily degraded n-hexadecane, although the original strain did not. It was also statistically confirmed that the hydrocarbon degradation of the transformants was highly correlated to their surfactin production by the determination of the correlation coefficient (r2 = 0.997, P < 0.01). Therefore, these results indicate that the surfactin produced from B. subtilis enhances the bioavailability of hydrophobic liquids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes / metabolism
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Lipopeptides
  • Peptide Synthases / genetics*
  • Peptide Synthases / metabolism
  • Peptides, Cyclic / biosynthesis
  • Surface-Active Agents / metabolism
  • Transformation, Bacterial


  • Alkanes
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Lipopeptides
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • surfactin peptide
  • Peptide Synthases
  • surfactin synthetase
  • n-hexadecane