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J Biotechnol. 2007 Sep 30;131(4):397-403. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

Effect of oligosaccharide elicitors on bacitracin A production and evidence of transcriptional level control.

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  • 1Microbial Biotechnology Research Group, Department of Molecular & Applied Biosciences, University of Westminster, London, UK.


The role of oligosaccharides as biotic elicitors for the enhanced production of antibiotics and enzymes has been established in recent years. These findings could have significant promise for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Before the elicitors could be used at large-scale, reproducible production and high levels of enhancement are essential. In order to ensure the robustness of elicitation and exploit the process an understanding of this phenomenon at the molecular level is required. Bacitracin produced by Bacillus licheniformis is widely used as an animal feed additive and antibiotic against Gram-positive bacteria. In this work we report, the effect of single and multiple additions of different elicitors to B. licheniformis cultures for the production of bacitracin A. The results obtained showed that single addition of oligoguluronate to the cultures enhanced the levels of bacitracin A by 23.3%. Moreover, multiple elicitor addition of oligoguluronate and mannan oligosaccharide further enhanced the production of bacitracin A by 13.2% and 36.5% compared to single elicitor addition and control cultures, respectively. In addition, for the first time, it was found that elicitor supplementation of cultures increased the transcription level of the bacitracin biosynthetic genes bacABC, indicating transcriptional level control of the elicitor.

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