Bacillus licheniformis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bacillus licheniformis
Bacillus licheniformis colonies on a blood agar plate.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Bacillota
Class: Bacilli
Order: Bacillales
Family: Bacillaceae
Genus: Bacillus
B. licheniformis
Binomial name
Bacillus licheniformis
(Weigmann 1898) Chester 1901[1]

Bacillus licheniformis is a bacterium commonly found in the soil. It is found on bird feathers, especially chest and back plumage, and most often in ground-dwelling birds (like sparrows) and aquatic species (like ducks).

It is a gram-positive, mesophilic bacterium. Its optimal growth temperature is around 50 °C, though it can survive at much higher temperatures. The optimal temperature for enzyme secretion is 37 °C. It can exist in a dormant spore form to resist harsh environments, or in a vegetative state when conditions are good.

High capacity of secretion of the alkaline serine protease has made B. licheniformis one of the most important bacteria in industrial enzyme production.[2] Subtilisin Carlsberg (P00780) secreted by B. licheniformis is used as a detergent protease. It is sold under the name Alcalase by Novozymes.[3] A small antisense RNA against Subtilisin Carlsberg named BLi_r0872 was discovered in an RNA-seq based study. It may have a putative impact on protease production and serve as target for strain improvement.[4]

Scientists are currently exploring its ability to degrade feathers for agricultural purposes. Feathers contain high amounts of non-digestible proteins, but researchers hope that, through fermentation with B. licheniformis, they can use waste feathers to produce cheap and nutritious feather meal to feed livestock.

Ecological research is also being done looking at the interaction between plumage colors and B. licheniformis activity, and the consequences thereof. Feather degrading bacteria may have played an important role in the evolution of molting, and patterns in feather coloration (Gloger's Rule).


B. licheniformis is a Gram positive, spore-forming, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium.[5][6] It was initially named Clostridium licheniforme by H. Weigmann[7] and renamed Bacillus licheniformis by Frederick D. Chester.[8] B. licheniformis displays a variety of colony morphologies, with the rough "licheniform" colonies giving the organism its name.[6] Colonies tend to be cream-colored, but will turn red in the presence of iron in media, most likely as a result of pulcherrimin.[6][9] B. licheniformis is found in a wide variety of environments, but especially in soil and in the feathers of birds, where B. licheniformis degrades β-keratin.[6][10] There is evidence that red feathers, with psittacofulvin, are more resistant to degradation.[11]


Industrial enzymes[edit]

Subtilisin Carlsberg, a serine protease secreted by B. licheniformis, is used in laundry detergent formulations due to its ability to perform at high pH levels (optimal activity is between 8.0 and 10.0) and high temperatures (40–50 °C or 104–122 °F).[12] Amylases are also synthesized by B. licheniformis and used for industrial purposes.[13][14]


B. licheniformis is used as a probiotic in animal feed, where isolates have been shown to prevent disease and promote growth as well as being commercially available.[13][15][16] Some isolates have also been found to be probiotic in humans (and are also commercially available),[13][17] but it's been mentioned that clinical trials have not been performed on many of them yet.[13]

Other applications[edit]

B. licheniformis also shows possible applications in bioremediation, biomineralization, and biofuels.[13]

Natural genetic transformation[edit]

B. licheniformis is naturally competent for genetic transformation.[18] Natural genetic transformation is a sexual process involving DNA transfer from one bacterium to another through the intervening medium, and the integration of the donor sequence into the recipient genome by homologous recombination.

Pathogenicity and food spoilage[edit]

Bacillus licheniformis has been found to cause infection in several cases of immunocompromised patients.[19][20] B. licheniformis has been found to be the causative agent of ventriculitis, ophthalmitis, bacteremia, peritonitis, and endocarditis.[21][22][23][24] B. licheniformis is also known to contaminate food, especially dairy,[25] as well as causing "ropiness" in bread.[20][26] There is evidence that contamination may be a result of a toxin.[20]


Below is a list of differential techniques and results that can help to identify Bacillus licheniformis from other bacteria and Bacillus species.[27]


  1. ^ "Species: Bacillus licheniformis". List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  2. ^ Schallmey, Marcus; Singh, Ajay; Ward, Owen P. (2004-01-01). "Developments in the use of Bacillus species for industrial production". Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 50 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1139/w03-076. ISSN 0008-4166. PMID 15052317.
  3. ^ "UniProtKB".
  4. ^ Wiegand, Sandra; Dietrich, Sascha; Hertel, Robert; Bongaerts, Johannes; Evers, Stefan; Volland, Sonja; Daniel, Rolf; Liesegang, Heiko (2013-01-01). "RNA-Seq of Bacillus licheniformis: active regulatory RNA features expressed within a productive fermentation". BMC Genomics. 14: 667. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-667. ISSN 1471-2164. PMC 3871023. PMID 24079885.
  5. ^ Clements, Laura D.; Miller, Brian S.; Streips, Uldis N. (August 2002). "Comparative growth analysis of the facultative anaerobes Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, and Escherichia coli". Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 25 (2): 284–286. doi:10.1078/0723-2020-00108. ISSN 0723-2020. PMID 12353884.
  6. ^ a b c d Logan, Niall A.; Vos, Paul De (2015), "Bacillus", Bergey's Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria, American Cancer Society, pp. 1–163, doi:10.1002/9781118960608.gbm00530, ISBN 978-1-118-96060-8, retrieved 2021-02-06
  7. ^ Weigmann, H. (1898). Über zwei an der Käsereifung beteiligte Bakterien. Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde, Infektionskrankheiten und Hygiene. Abteilung. pp. 820–834.
  8. ^ Chester, Frederick D. (1901). A Manual of Determinative Bacteriology. New York: The MacMillan Company.
  9. ^ Li, Xiaoyun; Wang, Dong; Cai, Dongbo; Zhan, Yangyang; Wang, Qin; Chen, Shouwen (2017-12-01). "Identification and High-level Production of Pulcherrimin in Bacillus licheniformis DW2". Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 183 (4): 1323–1335. doi:10.1007/s12010-017-2500-x. ISSN 1559-0291. PMID 28523413. S2CID 9678745.
  10. ^ Whitaker, Justine M.; Cristol, Daniel A.; Forsyth, Mark H. (July 2005). "Prevalence and genetic diversity of Bacillus licheniformis in avian plumage". Journal of Field Ornithology. 76 (3): 264–270. doi:10.1648/0273-8570-76.3.264. ISSN 0273-8570. S2CID 34090767.
  11. ^ Burtt, E. H. (2010). "Colourful parrot feathers resist bacterial degradation". Biology Letters. 7 (2): 214–216. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0716. PMC 3061162. PMID 20926430.
  12. ^ Sellami-Kamoun, Alya; Haddar, Anissa; Ali, Nedra El-Hadj; Ghorbel-Frikha, Basma; Kanoun, Safia; Nasri, Moncef (2008-05-01). "Stability of thermostable alkaline protease from Bacillus licheniformis RP1 in commercial solid laundry detergent formulations". Microbiological Research. 163 (3): 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.micres.2006.06.001. ISSN 0944-5013. PMID 16872818.
  13. ^ a b c d e Muras, Andrea; Romero, Manuel; Mayer, Celia; Otero, Ana (2021-02-16). "Biotechnological applications of Bacillus licheniformis". Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 41 (4): 609–627. doi:10.1080/07388551.2021.1873239. ISSN 0738-8551. PMID 33593221. S2CID 231945315.
  14. ^ de Boer, Anne Sietske; Priest, Fergus; Diderichsen, Børge (1994-01-01). "On the industrial use of Bacillus licheniformis: a review". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 40 (5): 595–598. doi:10.1007/BF00173313. ISSN 1432-0614. S2CID 9649394.
  15. ^ Liu, Xiaolu; Yan, Hai; Lv, Le; Xu, Qianqian; Yin, Chunhua; Zhang, Keyi; Wang, Pei; Hu, Jiye (May 2012). "Growth Performance and Meat Quality of Broiler Chickens Supplemented with Bacillus licheniformis in Drinking Water". Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences. 25 (5): 682–689. doi:10.5713/ajas.2011.11334. ISSN 1011-2367. PMC 4093119. PMID 25049614.
  16. ^ Deng, W.; Dong, X. F.; Tong, J. M.; Zhang, Q. (March 2012). "The probiotic Bacillus licheniformis ameliorates heat stress-induced impairment of egg production, gut morphology, and intestinal mucosal immunity in laying hens". Poultry Science. 91 (3): 575–582. doi:10.3382/ps.2010-01293. ISSN 0032-5791. PMID 22334732.
  17. ^ Lee, Na-Kyoung; Kim, Won-Suck; Paik, Hyun-Dong (2019-10-08). "Bacillus strains as human probiotics: characterization, safety, microbiome, and probiotic carrier". Food Science and Biotechnology. 28 (5): 1297–1305. doi:10.1007/s10068-019-00691-9. ISSN 1226-7708. PMC 6811671. PMID 31695928.
  18. ^ Jakobs M, Hoffmann K, Grabke A, Neuber S, Liesegang H, Volland S, Meinhardt F (2014). "Unravelling the genetic basis for competence development of auxotrophic Bacillus licheniformis 9945A strains". Microbiology. 160 (Pt 10): 2136–47. doi:10.1099/mic.0.079236-0. PMID 25009236.
  19. ^ La Jeon, You; Yang, John Jeongseok; Kim, Min Jin; Lim, Gayoung; Cho, Sun Young; Park, Tae Sung; Suh, Jin-Tae; Park, Yong Ho; Lee, Mi Suk; Kim, Soo Cheol; Lee, Hee Joo (2012). "Combined Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis infection in a patient with oesophageal perforation". Journal of Medical Microbiology. 61 (12): 1766–1769. doi:10.1099/jmm.0.042275-0. ISSN 0022-2615. PMID 22918867.
  20. ^ a b c Salkinoja-Salonen, M. S.; Vuorio, R.; Andersson, M. A.; Kämpfer, P.; Andersson, M. C.; Honkanen-Buzalski, T.; Scoging, A. C. (October 1999). "Toxigenic Strains of Bacillus licheniformis Related to Food Poisoning". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 65 (10): 4637–4645. Bibcode:1999ApEnM..65.4637S. doi:10.1128/AEM.65.10.4637-4645.1999. ISSN 0099-2240. PMC 91618. PMID 10508100.
  21. ^ Young, Ronald F.; Yoshimori, Robert N.; Murray, Dennis L.; Chou, Paula J. (1982-10-01). "Postoperative neurosurgical infections due to bacillus species". Surgical Neurology. 18 (4): 271–273. doi:10.1016/0090-3019(82)90343-3. ISSN 0090-3019. PMID 6758158.
  22. ^ Maucour, M. F.; Brugniart, C.; Ducasse, A.; Brasme, L.; Bajolet, O. (April 1999). "[Bacillary endophthalmitis. Four case reports]". Journal Français d'Ophtalmologie. 22 (3): 371–376. ISSN 0181-5512. PMID 10337596.
  23. ^ Haydushka, Irina A.; Markova, Nadya; Kirina, Vesselina; Atanassova, Maria (2012-01-01). "Recurrent sepsis due to Bacillus licheniformis". Journal of Global Infectious Diseases. 4 (1): 82–3. doi:10.4103/0974-777X.93768. ISSN 0974-777X. PMC 3326966. PMID 22529634.
  24. ^ Blue, S. R.; Singh, V. R.; Saubolle, M. A. (1995-03-01). "Bacillus licheniformis Bacteremia: Five Cases Associated with Indwelling Central Venous Catheters". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 20 (3): 629–633. doi:10.1093/clinids/20.3.629. ISSN 1058-4838. PMID 7756487.
  25. ^ Dhakal, Rajat; Chauhan, Kanika; Seale, R. Brent; Deeth, Hilton C.; Pillidge, Christopher J.; Powell, Ian B.; Craven, Heather; Turner, Mark S. (2013-06-01). "Genotyping of dairy Bacillus licheniformis isolates by high resolution melt analysis of multiple variable number tandem repeat loci". Food Microbiology. 34 (2): 344–351. doi:10.1016/ ISSN 0740-0020. PMID 23541201.
  26. ^ Sorokulova, I. B.; Reva, O. N.; Smirnov, V. V.; Pinchuk, I. V.; Lapa, S. V.; Urdaci, M. C. (2003). "Genetic diversity and involvement in bread spoilage of Bacillus strains isolated from flour and ropy bread". Letters in Applied Microbiology. 37 (2): 169–173. doi:10.1046/j.1472-765X.2003.01372.x. ISSN 1472-765X. PMID 12859662. S2CID 34135869.
  27. ^ Harwood, Colin R. (2013-11-11). Bacillus. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781489935021.

External links[edit]