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.
|Title of host publication||Bioprospecting: Success, Potential and Constraints|
|Editors||Russell Paterson, Lima Nelson|
|Place of Publication||Berlin|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2016|