The present study investigates the cellulolytic potential of three prokaryotic strains belonging to genus Bacillus isolated from the benthic soil of two aquaculture farms in East Kolkata Wetlands. For the purpose of identification and phylogenetic analyses, biochemical characterization of these three strains were performed followed by molecular characterization of 16S rRNA sequences. Maximum cellulolytic potential was found in Bacillus cereus Strain SWA6a for both Exo – b,1-4- glucanase and Endo – b,1-4- glucanase with an activity of 0.08214 ± 0.00412 and 0.11263 ± 0.00478 IU ml-1min-1 respectively. The enzyme activity ranged from 0.06112 to 0.08214 IU ml-1min-1 for Exo – b,1-4- glucanase and 0.10018 to 0.11263 IU ml-1min-1 for Endo – b,1-4- glucanase. Degradation of free insoluble cellulose ranged from 55 to 63% within a time span of 96 hours in pH 6.8 – 7.2 when incubated at 37°C. Overall, the cellulolytic activity of the isolated strains may have strong implications in the field of biological conversion of cellulose-containing municipal wastes, agricultural and forestry wastes. These isolates maintain the equilibrium of the aquaculture pond by maintaining the biogeochemical cycle of carbon and hence has the prospect to be used for bioaugmentation purposes as a step towards a microbial-based aquaculture method.
Aquaculture benthos, Bacillus, Cellulolysis, 16S rDNA Analysis, Cellulase
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