Bacillus subtilis

General Information

Bacillus subtilis, also known as hay bacillus or grass bacillus, is an aerobic bacterium commonly found in soil. It is ubiquist and can also be isolated from air and water, and of particular interest to us is that it is not a pathogen and does not present a risk for humans and other life forms.

Bacillus subtilis is rod shaped and flagellated. Because of its flagella, it can move quickly, which is especially important when fleeing dangerous environmental conditions, so-called “stress situations” (ph- balance changes, nutrient deficiency, heat,…)  Spores inside its cells (so-called endospores) also help with Bacillus subtilis‘ survival.
They are an interesting attribute and are not for reproduction, but are exclusively a survival mechanism.
These endospores can aid the bacterium to withstand extreme situations like heat or dryness.

Just like all other bacteria, hay bacillus is a ‘master of reproduction’. In optimal conditions, it can achieve a doubling time (generation time) of only 26 minutes, while 45 minutes are seen as normal. That means that, after 10 hours, a single bacterium with a generation time of 26 minutes would have produced 8 million doubles. A bacterium with a generation time of 45 minutes would produce 8,000.

View chromosomal locations

Indrustrial uses

Bacillus subtilis is used in agriculture as a fungicide (FZB24®) for cottonseeds, vegetables, peanuts and soybeans. It builds up on the plants’ rhizosphere and protects it from fungal growth by competing with the fungus. It also produces volatile organic bonds that counteract fungal decay.

Hay bacillus in also not without uses in medicine. It is used in medicines that fight against chronic skin diseases as well as digestive problems such as diarrhea and bowel inflammation (eg. in Utilin®, Utilin N® und Bactisubtil®).

Bacillus subtilis also plays a role in the production of detergent-enzymes, the synthesis of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and the antibiotic bacitractin. Hay bacillus naturally produces riboflavin. Through genetic alterations, the production has been increased by 300,000.

Bacillus subtilisis used alongside Escherichia coli to produce amylase, which is for the deconstruction of starch. Microorganisms are separated into four different groups based on their safety. While group 1 poses no threat for humans, group 4 has a high risk factor associated with it. Bacillus subtilis is categorized into group 1.

Bacillus subtilis has also

received GRAS-status (Generally Recognized As Safe) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that the bacterium poses no health threat, is hygienically acceptable and is technologically effective.

The genome of Bacillus subtilisis made up of 4,214,810 base pairs. A gene is, on average, 893 nucleotides long. The longest gene has 14,793 nucleotides and the shortest only 63. ~ 87% of the nucleotides have a coded function. Link to the genome:
The database shows the entire genome of Bacillus subtilis. One can read through the entire genome base pair by base pair from beginning to end.

A good description and characterization of this bacteria is offered by the Univeristy of Greifswald at http://microbio1.biologie.

Biblography: Bacillus_subtilis lehre_server/MOL102/ Lab_Praxis_02_handout.pdf ebensmittel/mikroorganismen/ 595.doku.html
Photo credits: 98/bacillus_subtilis.jpg Bacillus_subtilis_Gram.jpg& filetimestamp=20050127095612