, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 955-962
Date: 30 Mar 2007

Metagenomics, biotechnology with non-culturable microbes

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Metagenomics as a new field of research has been developed over the past decade to elucidate the genomes of the non-cultured microbes with the goal to better understand global microbial ecology on the one side, and on the other side it has been driven by the increasing biotechnological demands for novel enzymes and biomolecules. Since it is well accepted that the majority of all microbes has not yet been cultured, the not-yet-cultivated microbes represent a shear unlimited and intriguing resource for the development of novel genes, enzymes and chemical compounds for use in biotechnology. However, with respect to biotechnology, metagenomics faces now two major challenges. Firstly, it has to identify truly novel biocatalysts to fulfil the needs of industrial processes and green chemistry. Secondly, the already available genes and enzymes need to be implemented in production processes to further prove the value of metagenome-derived sequences.