Aims: To investigate the influence of yeast extract, peptone, temperature and pH upon protease productivity by Bacillus sp. HTS102 – a novel wild strain isolated from wool of a Portuguese sheep breed (Merino).
Methods and Results: A 24 full factorial, central composite design together with response surface methodology was used to carry out the experiments and analyse the results, respectively. Among the individual parameters tested, temperature and peptone concentration produced significant effects upon protease productivity. A high correlation coefficient (R2 = 0·994, P < 0·01) indicated that the empiric second-order polynomial model postulated was adequate to predict said productivity, with the optimum loci characterized by: temperature of 43°C, peptone content of 1·4 g l−1, pH of 5·1 and yeast extract concentration of 10·0 g l−1.
Conclusions: Protease synthesis depends chiefly on temperature and peptone level. The maximum protease activity was more than twice that obtained with the basal medium, so the experimental design and analysis undertaken were effective towards process optimization.
Significance and Impact of the Study: Rational choice of processing conditions for maximum protease productivity will be relevant if an economically feasible fermentation process based on Bacillus sp. HTS102 is intended.