Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 293–304 | Cite as

Cold-Adapted Enzymes from Marine Antarctic Microorganisms

  • J-C. Marx
  • T. Collins
  • S. D’Amico
  • G. Feller
  • C. Gerday
Invited Review


The Antarctic marine environment is characterized by challenging conditions for the survival of native microorganisms. Indeed, next to the temperature effect represented by the Arrhenius law, the viscosity of the medium, which is also significantly enhanced by low temperatures, contributes to slow down reaction rates. This review analyses the different challenges and focuses on a key element of life at low temperatures: cold-adapted enzymes. The molecular characteristics of these enzymes are discussed as well as the adaptation strategies which can be inferred from the comparison of their properties and three-dimensional structures with those of their mesophilic counterparts. As these enzymes display a high specific activity at low and moderate temperatures associated with a relatively high thermosensitivity, the interest in these properties is discussed with regard to their current and possible applications in biotechnology.


Antarctic biotechnology cold adaptation psychrophiles 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J-C. Marx
    • 1
  • T. Collins
    • 1
  • S. D’Amico
    • 1
  • G. Feller
    • 1
  • C. Gerday
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, B6, Sart-TilmanUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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