Sep 11, 2007

Finding a needle in the ocean

The deep ocean may be similar to a rainforest in terms of the range of existing microbes and their genetic diversity. The resulting biochemical diversity might provide us with novel natural drugs and enzymes for cleaner industrial processes. The following clips are available for download from Out of the Blue, a DVD on marine microbes produced by Panache Productions with support from the NERC BlueMicrobe knowledge transfer network. The interviewed researchers are Alan Bull and Jem Stach, from the Universities of Kent and Newcastle (UK), respectively. For bioprospecting, the researchers use a combination of molecular techniques, bioinformatics, novel culturing strategies and screening approaches. In addition to potential pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications, these efforts will broaden our knowledge of microbial ecology and evolution (scarce knowledge, by the way).

This post is a contribution to Microbial Week, a collection of posts highlighting the many roles of microbes in deep-sea or marine environments. The event is organized by Christina Kellogg and the guys at Deep-Sea News.

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