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Microb Cell Fact. 2008 Aug 21;7:27. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-7-27.

Marine metagenomics: strategies for the discovery of novel enzymes with biotechnological applications from marine environments.

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1
Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Lee Road, Cork, Ireland. a.dobson@ucc.ie.

Abstract

Metagenomic based strategies have previously been successfully employed as powerful tools to isolate and identify enzymes with novel biocatalytic activities from the unculturable component of microbial communities from various terrestrial environmental niches. Both sequence based and function based screening approaches have been employed to identify genes encoding novel biocatalytic activities and metabolic pathways from metagenomic libraries. While much of the focus to date has centred on terrestrial based microbial ecosystems, it is clear that the marine environment has enormous microbial biodiversity that remains largely unstudied. Marine microbes are both extremely abundant and diverse; the environments they occupy likewise consist of very diverse niches. As culture-dependent methods have thus far resulted in the isolation of only a tiny percentage of the marine microbiota the application of metagenomic strategies holds great potential to study and exploit the enormous microbial biodiversity which is present within these marine environments.

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