Functional metagenomics of extreme environments

Mirete, S., Morgante, V., González Pastor, J. E. 2016. Functional metagenomics of extreme environments. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 38, 143-149, DOI: 10.1016/j.copbio.2016.01.017

The bioprospecting of enzymes that operate under extreme conditions is of particular interest for many biotechnological and industrial processes. Nevertheless, there is a considerable limitation to retrieve novel enzymes as only a small fraction of microorganisms derived from extreme environments can be cultured under standard laboratory conditions. Functional metagenomics has the advantage of not requiring the cultivation of microorganisms or previous sequence information to known genes, thus representing a valuable approach for mining enzymes with new features. In this review, we summarize studies showing how functional metagenomics was employed to retrieve genes encoding for proteins involved not only in molecular adaptation and resistance to extreme environmental conditions but also in other enzymatic activities of biotechnological interest.

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