Extremophiles and Biotechnology


Microbial diversity in extreme habitats, e.g. the deep subsurface, polar regions, salt lakes, hot springs, solfataric field and alklaine lakes, is very broad and delivers a valuable resource of unique enzymes (extremozymes) and chemical compounds. The study of these extremophiles will provide new keys to the understanding of life processes under stress conditions and will unravel the mechanisms developed by biological systems to cope to harsh conditions. This gained knowledge will be used to develop new biobased products and bioprocesses in various fields such as fine chemicals, feed, food, cosmetics, textile, paper and pharmaceutical industries.

Keywords: extremophiles; extremozymes; industrial biotechnology; biorefinary; Archaea

Further Reading

Antranikian G, Vorgias C and Bertoldo C (2005) Extreme environment as source for microorganisms and novel biocatalysts. Advances in Biochemical Engineering Biotechnology 96: 219–262.

Böhlke K, Pisani FM, Rossi M and Antranikian G (2002) Archaeal DNA replication. Extremophiles 6: 1–14.

DÁmico S, Collins T, Marx JC, Feller G and Gerday C (2006) Psychrophilic microorganisms: challenges for life. EMBO Reports 7(4): 385–389.

Egorova G and Antranikian G (2005) Industrial relevance of thermophilic archaea. Current Opinion in Microbiology 8: 649–655.

Fütterer O, Liesegang H, Gottschalk G et al. (2004) Genome sequence of Picrophilus torridus and its implications for life around pH 0. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 101: 9091–9096.

Gomes J and Steiner W (2004) The biocatalytic potential of extremophiles and extremozymes. Food Technology and Biotechnology 42: 223–235.

Horikoshi K (2006) Alkaliphiles. Tokyo: Kodansha Springer.

Robb F, Antranikian G, Grogan D and Driessen A (eds) (2008) Thermophiles: Biology and Technology at High Temperatures. USA: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis.

Santos H and Da Costa M (2001) Organic solutes from thermophiles and hyperthermophiles. Methods in Enzymology 334: 302–315.

Stetter KO (2006) History of discovery of the first hyperthermophiles. Extremophiles 10(5): 357–362.

Woese CR, Kandler O and Wheelis ML (1992) Towards a natural system of organisms; proposal for the domains Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 87: 4576–4579.

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How to Cite close
Antranikian, G(Mar 2009) Extremophiles and Biotechnology. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000391.pub2]