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Hb25_Springer Handbook of Marine Biotechnology
2015, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-53971-8_26

Biotechnological Potential of Marine Microbes

Gian M. Luna

Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR – CNR), National Research Council of Italy, 30122, Venice, Italy.

Abstract

The world’s oceans, from the coasts to the abysses, harbor an incredible level of microbial diversity. This marine microbial biosphere is an enormous, untapped resource of biotechnological interest. This chapter reviews the potential of marine microbes in biotechnology. The biotechnological potential is considerable, ranging from the synthesis of bioactive molecules to the production of biofuels, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, and biopolymers; from the engineering of marine microbes for biomedical purposes to the degradation of pollutants, and the use of microbial biosensors as sentinels for environmental quality. Marine viruses have great biotechnological potential, yet the exploration of the marine virome, and the associated gene and protein pool, is only beginning. Marine archaea have so far been exploited for the isolation of enzymes, yet many biotechnological exploitations can be foreseen. Bacteria and microbial eukaryotes, especially fungi and photosynthetic protists, provide an important contribution to biotechnology; the combination of omics-driven technologies and improved cultivation techniques is widening the knowledge on their biological diversity, paving the way for new biotechnological exploitations. The exploration of the marine microbial biosphere, and its extraordinary genetic and physiological diversity, will undoubtedly continue to offer chances for the development of new and sustainable blue biotechnologies, helping to solve important societal challenges of the twenty-first century.

 


 
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