Bioprospecting Archaea: Focus on Extreme Halophiles

André Antunes, Marta F. Simões, Stefan W. Grötzinger, Jörg Eppinger, Judith Bragança, Vladimir B. Bajic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In 1990, Woese et al. divided the Tree of Life into three separate domains: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Archaea. Archaea were originally perceived as little more than “odd bacteria” restricted to extreme environmental niches, but later discoveries challenged this assumption. Members of this domain populate a variety of unexpected environments (e.g. soils, seawater, and human bodies), and we currently witness ongoing massive expansions of the archaeal branch of the Tree of Life. Archaea are now recognized as major players in the biosphere and constitute a significant fraction of the earth’s biomass, yet they remain underexplored. An ongoing surge in exploration efforts is leading to an increase in the (a) number of isolated strains, (b) associated knowledge, and (c) utilization of Archaea in biotechnology. They are increasingly employed in fields as diverse as biocatalysis, biocomputing, bioplastic production, bioremediation, bioengineering, food, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. This chapter provides a general overview on bioprospecting Archaea, with a particular focus on extreme halophiles. We explore aspects such as diversity, ecology, screening techniques and biotechnology. Current and future trends in mining for applications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTopics in Biodiversity and Conservation
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages81-112
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9783319479330
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 13 2016

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