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Biotechnology Implications of Extremophiles as Life Pioneers and Wellspring of Valuable Biomolecules

  • Ilaria Finore
  • Licia Lama
  • Annarita Poli
  • Paola Di Donato
  • Barbara Nicolaus

Abstract

Studies on extremophiles, microorganisms able to survive in extreme environments, are very helpful for the comprehension of life evolution; in fact they are the unique organisms of the Earth at the origin of life. They lie into the three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya) and can be found in environmental niches on Earth such as in hydrothermal vents and springs, in salty lakes, in halite crystals, in polar ice and lakes, in volcanic areas, in deserts, or under anaerobic conditions. The existence of life forms beyond the Earth requires an extension of the classical limits of life: the resistance of extremophilic organisms to harsh conditions in terms of temperature, salinity, pH, pressure, dryness, and desiccation makes these living organisms good putative candidates to assess the habitability of other planets. The ability to survive and proliferate in extreme conditions (pH, temperature, pressure, salt, and nutrients) produces a variety of biotechnologically useful molecules such as lipids, enzymes, polysaccharides, and compatible solutes that are employed in several industrial processes. There are many extremophilic enzymes and also endogenous compounds that are used with success for food industry, for preparation of the detergents, for pharmacological applications, and also for genetic studies. In particular enzymes that derive from thermophiles, and for this reason called thermozymes, represent an excellent sources of new catalysts of interest in industrial sectors.

Keywords

Bacillus Licheniformis Ether Lipid Halophilic Archaea Halophilic Microorganism Tetraether Lipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work has been implemented in the frame of the project PON01_01966 “Integrated agro-industrial chains with high energy efficiency for the development of eco-compatible processes of energy and biochemicals production from renewable sources and for the land valorization” funded by MIUR.

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilaria Finore
    • 1
  • Licia Lama
    • 1
  • Annarita Poli
    • 1
  • Paola Di Donato
    • 2
    • 3
  • Barbara Nicolaus
    • 1
  1. 1.Council of National Research (C.N.R.)Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry (I.C.B.)Pozzuoli (Na)Italy
  2. 2.Council of National Research (C.N.R.)Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry (I.C.B.)Pozzuoli (Na)Italy
  3. 3.University of Naples ParthenopeNaplesItaly

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