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Gelatin Hydrolysis - Important to a Microbe Not Pathogenic?


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Hello SFN,


I am stumped on this question:


Can gelatin hydrolysis be important to microorganisms even if they are not pathogenic? Explain. Where in nature might you find such microbes?


I understand that gelatin hydrolysis is progressed via enzyme gelatinase. But outside of human or animal, I don't see any other functions of hydrolysizing gelatin or the function of gelatinase in a natural environment.


I went into further exploration and found that some microbes that posses the gene for gelatinase live in fresh water or soil environments. Gelatin is found within these environments? Is that the simple answer?


Thanks in advance for the responses.

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Gelatin is essentially denatured collagen, which is the main structural protein found in connective tissues and cartilage in all animals. If the microbes are not pathogenic, perhaps they are digesting proteins released by animals (e.g., mucus, sloughed skin, etc.) or decomposition. My guess is that you would also find gelatinase expressed in microbes that are responsible for curing meats.

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