Haloarchaea: worth exploring for their biotechnological potential
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Halophilic archaea are unique microorganisms adapted to survive under high salt conditions and biomolecules produced by them may possess unusual properties. Haloarchaeal metabolites are stable at high salt and temperature conditions that are useful for industrial applications. Proteins and enzymes of this group of archaea are functional under salt concentrations at which bacterial counterparts fail to be active. Such properties makes haloarchaeal enzymes suitable for salt-based applications and their use under dehydrating conditions. For example, bacteriorhodopsin or the purple membrane protein present in halophilic archaea has the most recognizable applications in photoelectric devices, artificial retinas, holograms etc. Haloarchaea are also useful for bioremediation of polluted hypersaline areas. Polyhydroxyalkanoates and exopolysccharides produced by these microorganisms are biodegradable and have the potential to replace commercial non-degradable plastics and polymers. Moreover, halophilic archaea have excellent potential to be used as drug delivery systems and for nanobiotechnology by virtue of their gas vesicles and S-layer glycoproteins. Despite of possible applications of halophilic archaea, laboratory-to-industrial transition of these potential candidates is yet to be established.
KeywordsApplications Enzymes Haloarchaea Nanobiotechnology
Dr. Aparna Singh would like to acknowledge Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for financial assistance under Women Scientist (WOS-A) scheme (SR/WOS-ALS-135912014 (C&G) Dated 05/08/15).
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