Metagenomics as a Tool for Enzyme Discovery: Hydrolytic Enzymes from Marine-Related Metagenomes

  • Ana Popovic
  • Anatoly Tchigvintsev
  • Hai Tran
  • Tatyana N. Chernikova
  • Olga V. Golyshina
  • Michail M. Yakimov
  • Peter N. Golyshin
  • Alexander F. Yakunin
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 883)


This chapter discusses metagenomics and its application for enzyme discovery, with a focus on hydrolytic enzymes from marine metagenomic libraries. With less than one percent of culturable microorganisms in the environment, metagenomics, or the collective study of community genetics, has opened up a rich pool of uncharacterized metabolic pathways, enzymes, and adaptations. This great untapped pool of genes provides the particularly exciting potential to mine for new biochemical activities or novel enzymes with activities tailored to peculiar sets of environmental conditions. Metagenomes also represent a huge reservoir of novel enzymes for applications in biocatalysis, biofuels, and bioremediation. Here we present the results of enzyme discovery for four enzyme activities, of particular industrial or environmental interest, including esterase/lipase, glycosyl hydrolase, protease and dehalogenase.


Metagenome Gene library Gene discovery Enzyme screening Hydrolase 



This work was supported in part by the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute (2009-OGI-ABC-1405 and the research agreement OGI-055), Ontario Research Fund (ORF-GL2-01-004), the EU FP7 project MAMBA (FP7-KBBE-2008-226977) and MicroB3 (OCEAN-2011-287589). We thank all members of the Structural Proteomics in Toronto (SPiT) Centre for help in conducting the experiments and Dr. Manuel Ferrer (Institute of Catalysis, Madrid) for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Popovic
    • 1
  • Anatoly Tchigvintsev
    • 1
  • Hai Tran
    • 2
  • Tatyana N. Chernikova
    • 2
  • Olga V. Golyshina
    • 2
  • Michail M. Yakimov
    • 3
  • Peter N. Golyshin
    • 2
  • Alexander F. Yakunin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied ChemistryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesBangor UniversityGwyneddUK
  3. 3.Institute for Coastal Marine Environment, CNRMessinaItaly

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