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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 703130, 13 pages
Research Article

Unraveling the Lipolytic Activity of Thermophilic Bacteria Isolated from a Volcanic Environment

Microbiology Group, Sector of Botany, Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Zografou Campus, Zografou 15784, Attica, Greece

Received 9 February 2013; Accepted 25 March 2013

Academic Editor: George Tsiamis

Copyright © 2013 Panagiota M. Stathopoulou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In a bioprospecting effort towards novel thermostable lipases, we assessed the lipolytic profile of 101 bacterial strains isolated from the volcanic area of Santorini, Aegean Sea, Greece. Screening of lipase activity was performed both in agar plates and liquid cultures using olive oil as carbon source. Significant differences were observed between the two screening methods with no clear correlation between them. While the percentage of lipase producing strains identified in agar plates was only 17%, lipolytic activity in liquid culture supernatants was detected for 74% of them. Nine strains exhibiting elevated extracellular lipase activities were selected for lipase production and biochemical characterization. The majority of lipase producers revealed high phylogenetic similarity with Geobacillus species and related genera, whilst one of them was identified as Aneurinibacillus sp. Lipase biosynthesis strongly depended on the carbon source that supplemented the culture medium. Olive oil induced lipase production in all strains, but maximum enzyme yields for some of the strains were also obtained with Tween-80, mineral oil, and glycerol. Partially purified lipases revealed optimal activity at 70–80°C and pH 8-9. Extensive thermal stability studies revealed marked thermostability for the majority of the lipases as well as a two-step thermal deactivation pattern.