Perspectives on biotechnological applications of archaea
CHIARA SCHIRALDI,1 MARIATERESA GIULIANO 1 and MARIO DE ROSA 1,2
1 Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, II University of Naples, via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
2 Author to whom correspondence should be addressed ([email protected])
Received October 15, 2001; accepted May 6, 2002; published online May 31, 2002
Many archaea colonize extreme environments. They include hyperthermophiles, sulfur-metabolizing thermophiles, extreme halophiles and methanogens. Because extremophilic microorganisms have unusual properties, they are a potentially valuable resource in the development of novel biotechnological processes. Despite extensive research, however, there are few existing industrial applications of either archaeal biomass or archaeal enzymes. This review summarizes current knowledge about the biotechnological uses of archaea and archaeal enzymes with special attention to potential applications that are the subject of current experimental evaluation. Topics covered include cultivation methods, recent achievements in genomics, which are of key importance for the development of new biotechnological tools, and the application of wild-type biomasses, engineered microorganisms, enzymes and specific metabolites in particular bioprocesses of industrial interest.
biotechnology, extremozymes, high density cultivation, recombinant DNA technology.