Archaea Biotechnology

Kevin Pfeifer, İpek Ergal, Martin Koller, Mirko Basen, Bernhard Schuster, Simon K-M R Rittmann

Archaea are a domain of prokaryotic organisms with intriguing physiological characteristics and ecological importance. In Microbial Biotechnology, archaea are historically overshadowed by bacteria and eukaryotes in terms of public awareness, industrial application, and scientific studies, although their biochemical and physiological properties show a vast potential for a wide range of biotechnological applications. Today, the majority of microbial cell factories utilized for the production of value-added and high value compounds on an industrial scale are bacterial, fungal or algae based. Nevertheless, archaea are becoming ever more relevant for biotechnology as their cultivation and genetic systems improve. Some of the main advantages of archaeal cell factories are the ability to cultivate many of these often extremophilic organisms under non-sterile conditions, and to utilize inexpensive feedstocks often toxic to other microorganisms, thus drastically reducing cultivation costs. Currently, the only commercially available products of archaeal cell factories are bacterioruberin, squalene, bacteriorhodopsin and diether-/tetraether-lipids, all of which are produced utilizing halophiles. Other archaeal products, such as carotenoids and biohydrogen, as well as polyhydroxyalkanoates and methane are in early to advanced development stages, respectively. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current state of Archaea Biotechnology by describing the actual state of research and development as well as the industrial utilization of archaeal cell factories, their role and their potential in the future of sustainable bioprocessing, and to illustrate their physiological and biotechnological potential.

Department für Funktionelle und Evolutionäre Ökologie, Forschungsgruppe Theory and Applications of Algorithms
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Medizinische Universität Graz, Rostock University Medical Center
Biotechnology Advances
ÖFOS 2012
209005 Fermentation
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