Improved pulp bleaching potential of Bacillus subtilis WB800 through overexpression of three lignolytic enzymes from various bacteria.
A chemical bleaching process of paper pulps gives off excessive amount of chlorinated organic wastes mostly released to environment without exposing complete bioremediaton. Recent alternative and eco-friendly approaches toward pulp bleaching appear more responsive to environmental awareness. Here we report, direct use of a recombinant Bacillus subtilis bacterium for pulp bleaching, endowed with three ligninolytic enzymes from various bacteria. In addition, efficient bleaching performance from glutathione-S-transferase (GST) biocatalyst tested for the first time in pulp bleaching applications was also achieved. Simultaneous and extracellular overproduction of highly active GST, laccase, and lignin peroxidase catalysts were also performed by Bacillus cells. Both enhanced bleaching success and improved delignification rates were identified when enzyme combinations tested on both pine kraft and waste paper pulps, ranging from 69.75% to 79.18% and 60.89% to 74.65%, respectively. Furthermore, when triple enzyme combination applied onto the papers from pine kraft and waste pulps, the best ISO brightness values were identified as 66.45% and 64.67%, respectively. The delignification rates of pulp fibers exposed to various enzymatic bleaching sequences were comparatively examined under SEM. In conclusion, the current study points out that in near future, a more fined-tuned engineering of pulp-colonizing bacteria may become a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to chemical bleaching.