Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P3HB) degradation capabilities of a novel bacterium, Anoxybacillus gonensis G2, were investigated. Both changes on film surfaces of the solution-cast films monitored by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and weight loss up to 24% after 72 It exposure to A. gonensis G2 cultures indicated secretion of an active esterase responsible for the degradation of P3HB films. Kinetic parameters, V-max and Km for the esterase activity of crude enzyme from A. gonensis G2 in the presence of p-nitrophenylbutyrate as substrate were observed as 50 U/L and 0.125 mM, respectively, in 50 mM phosphate buffer, pH 7.5 at 60 degreesC. The stimulation of the activity by Ca2+ is an evidence for the requirement of Ca2+ as a cofactor for the enzyme activity which is a characteristic for lipases/esterases. Inhibition of the esterase activity by metal chelating agents such as ethylenediamine tetraacetate, azide and cyanide has also supported the requirement of a metal ion for the activity. The thermal and pH stability profiles for the enzyme showed that the thermophilic bacterium A. gonensis G2 secretes an extracellular thermoalkalophilic PHB depolymerase active at 60 degreesC, and stable at this temperature for 120 min at pH 7.5 and for 24 h at pH 7.5-9.5 range at 4 degreesC by retaining over 75% of its initial activities. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.