Psychrophiles: from Biodiversity to Biotechnology

pp 347-363

Biotechnological Aspects of Cold-Adapted Enzymes

  • Adrienne L. HustonAffiliated with2006–2007 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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Beginning with the development of basic tools by our hominid predecessors, humanshave continually searched for and utilized novel materials from the natural environment to survive and thrive. Today, our knowledge of the surrounding world extends to themolecular scale as we enter the age of genomics and systems biology, enabling previously unimaginable insight into processes that promise application in the agricultural, energy, food, medical, structural material and textile industries. As environmental concerns arise, biological tools are increasingly replacing harsh chemical and physical means of processing materials and they even harbor promise for creating cost-effective sustainable energy sources. It is imperative that we continue investigating ways in which natural products can offer economical alternatives to traditional industrial processes. Due to the growing and wide-spread use of enzymes in a variety of industrial applications, this review aims to build on previous works (Brenchley 1996; Ohgiya et al. 1999; Gerday et al. 2000; Allen et al. 2001; Cavicchioli et al. 2002) by illustrating recent advances and potential opportunities for the biotechnological application of cold-adapted enzymes.