Assessment of Keratinase and Other Hydrolytic Enzymes in Thermophilic Bacteria Isolated from Geothermal Areas in Patagonia Argentina

<p>Thermophilic aerobic bacteria were isolated from two geothermal areas in Neuquén province using two different enrichment methods and a total of 30 isolates were obtained. From chicken feather enrichment cultures, strains affiliated to <i>Bacillus cytotoxicus</i> and <i>Bacillus licheniformis</i> were isolated and all of them demonstrated the capability to degrade completely chicken feather. A preliminary research on biotechnological enzymes' potential demonstrated that all the isolates displayed at least one of the extracellular hydrolytic enzymes tested. Most of the isolates showed protease, inulinase and/or pectinase activities, while cellulase and xylanase activities were less common. In light of these findings, geothermal areas of Argentina may be considered as a potential source of thermophilic bacteria able to produce many industrially relevant enzymes.</p>