Evaluating microemulsions for purification of beta-galactosidase from Kluyveromyces lactis

Mazı, Bekir Gökçen
In this study, we evaluated the potential of water-in-oil microemulsions for the separation of beta-galactosidase (lactase) from other proteins. The ability of beta-galactosidase to break down the milk carbohydrate lactose gives the enzyme considerable commercial importance. The extent of solubilization of a commercial Kluyveromyces lactis preparation of beta-galactosidase into microemulsion droplets formed from 200 mM bis (2-ethylhexyl) sodium sulfosuccinate (AOT) in isooctane was measured as a function of buffer type, pH, ionic strength, and protein concentration. Our results showed that, due to the large molecular weight of beta-galactosidase (MW~ 220-240 kDa, dimeric form), the enzyme was taken up by the microemulsion droplets mainly under very low salt conditions. Based on these results, we designed a one-step separation procedure, in which a small volume of aqueous buffer containing the protein mixture is added to an organic surfactant solution. Microemulsion droplets form in the oil and capture protein impurities of smaller molecular weights, while excluding the high molecular weight target protein. This causes the beta-galactosidase to be expelled into a newly formed aqueous phase. The feasibility of this one-step process as a bioseparation tool was demonstrated on a feed consisting of an equal mixture of beta-galactosidase and the test protein beta-lactoglobulin. Recovery and separation of the two proteins was analyzed as function of buffer type, pH, ionic strength, and protein concentration. Results showed that separation was most complete at 100 mM KCl salt concentration, where the droplets were big enough to carry beta-lactoglobulin but too small for lactase. At 100 mM salt concentration, we recovered 92% of the total lactase activity in a virtually pure form. The same separation scheme was then tested on crude extract obtained from a cell culture broth of the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis. Cells of the yeast K. lactis were disrupted by minibeadbeater, forming a crude extract that was used as the feed in our separation process. A 5.4-fold purification factor of the extract was achieved, with 96% activity recovery. The results showed our one-step separation process to be an interesting method for the production of beta-galactosidase as a technical enzyme: it has the potential to achieve a continuous, large-scale partial purification of the enzyme, potentially reducing the number of steps required in downstream process.
Citation Formats
B. G. Mazı, “Evaluating microemulsions for purification of beta-galactosidase from Kluyveromyces lactis,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.