Chapter 4 : Enzymes from Extreme Environments

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This chapter presents a number of methods that have been successfully applied in the screening for enzymes from extremophilic microorganisms and their communities. Parameters such as temperature, pH, percentage of relative humidity, salinity, dO, redox state, moisture content, light, local geology, weather (cloud, precipitation, wind speed), and so on, may be critical or irrelevant. Thermophilic samples, psychrophilic samples, halophilic samples, acidophilic samples, superficial sea- and freshwater samples are the issues for consideration in the sampling of various specific extreme environments. Two major extraction protocols may be used: (i) phenol extraction, where the gentle hydrophobicity of phenol makes it a good solvent for DNA extraction, and (ii) the use of commercial kits. Extremophiles are an obvious source of novel enzymes that may revolutionize the biofuels industry. Several bacterial and fungal species produce ligninases, with the enzymes produced by brown- and white-rot fungi being studied the most extensively. A report by Tuncer and his coworkers found that the ratio of carbon (C)/nitrogen (N) affected enzyme production and that a C/N ratio of 4:1 to 5.3:1 resulted in maximal enzyme production. This report also highlighted the need to grow all test strains on a range of different carbon sources, because the amount of extracellular enzymes produced varies depending on the carbon source, and it is essential to find the best medium for enzyme production. There is certainly a need for standardized methods for performing metagenomics projects, from physical-chemical description of sampling sites and sampling procedures down to the data interpretation and integration.

Citation: Cowan D, Kirby B, Meiring T, Ferrer M, Guazzaroni M, Golyshina O, Golyshin P. 2010. Enzymes from Extreme Environments, p 43-61. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch4

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Bacteria and Archaea
Microbial Ecology
Bacterial Cell Wall
Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis
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Image of FIGURE 1

Vector map of the shuttle fosmid pCT3FK (Chl, chloramphenicol resistance; kat, thermostable kanamycin resistance) and the region of HB27 genome containing the genes. G3PDH, glycerol-3-phosphate dehy-drogenase; hyp, hypothetical protein ( ).

Citation: Cowan D, Kirby B, Meiring T, Ferrer M, Guazzaroni M, Golyshina O, Golyshin P. 2010. Enzymes from Extreme Environments, p 43-61. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch4
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Useful pH range of common biological buffers (25°C, 0.1 M)

Citation: Cowan D, Kirby B, Meiring T, Ferrer M, Guazzaroni M, Golyshina O, Golyshin P. 2010. Enzymes from Extreme Environments, p 43-61. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch4
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Trizma buffer: pH versus temperature

Citation: Cowan D, Kirby B, Meiring T, Ferrer M, Guazzaroni M, Golyshina O, Golyshin P. 2010. Enzymes from Extreme Environments, p 43-61. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch4
Generic image for table

Lignocellulosic-degrading enzymes produced by extremophiles: producing strains and assays used

Citation: Cowan D, Kirby B, Meiring T, Ferrer M, Guazzaroni M, Golyshina O, Golyshin P. 2010. Enzymes from Extreme Environments, p 43-61. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch4

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