Esterase as an enzymatic signature of Geodermatophilaceae adaptability to Sahara desert stones and monuments

I. Essoussi, F. Ghodhbane-Gtari, H. Amairi, H. Sghaier, A. Jaouani, L. Brusetti, D. Daffonchio, A. Boudabous, M. Gtari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess esterase profiling of members of Geodermatophilaceae isolated from desert stones and monuments in Tunisia and Egypt. Methods and Results: Members of Geodermatophilaceae family isolated from desert stones and monuments in Tunisia and Egypt were characterized by partial 16S rRNA sequences. Twenty-five strains were clustered in three dissimilar groups of the genera Geodermatophilus (12 strains), Blastococcus (5 strains) and Modestobacter (3 strains). Isolates were also screened and typed based on major groups of esterase hydrolytic activity. Their esterase patterns were determined and compared to those of ten reference strains belonging to Geodermatophilaceae family. Strains exhibited a diverse and complex pattern of electrophoretic esterase bands, and 31 haplotypes were obtained for the 35 investigated strains. Esterases produced by members of Geodermatophilaceae family have an optimal activity around 40°C and at pH 8. Esterases from Geodermatophilus strains display a high resistance to thermal inactivation and alkaline pH and retaining 30 and 20% of activity after heating for 20 min at 120°C and at pH 12, respectively, and were completely inactivated after 30 min at 120°C. Enzyme activity has been strongly activated in the presence of Ca2+and Mg2+ ions and moderately by Zn2+ and was markedly inhibited by Cu2+ and Co2+ ions. Conclusions: Geodermatophilaceae isolates share a rich and particular pool of esterase activities that could be directly linked to harsh conditions characterizing their ecological habitat including high level of aridity, temperature, ionic strength and low nutrient availability. Significance and Impact of the Study: Esterase could be considered as enzymatic signature that outlines adaptability of Geodermatophilaceae in arid area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1723-1732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • 16S rRNA gene
  • Blastococcus
  • Esterase PAGE
  • Geodermatophilus
  • Modestobacter
  • Sahara desert

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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