Genetics of Unstudied Thermophiles for Industry


Thermophilic organisms hold great potential for industry due to their numerous advantages in biotechnological applications such as higher reaction rate, higher substrate loading, decreased susceptibility to reaction contamination, energy savings in industrial fermentations, and ability to express thermostable proteins that can be utilized in many important industrial processes. Bioprospecting for thermophiles will continue to reveal new enzymatic and metabolic paradigms with industrial applicability. In order to translate these paradigms to production scale, routine methods for microbial genetic engineering are needed, yet remain to be developed in many newly isolated thermophiles. Major challenges and recent developments in the establishment of reliable genetic systems in thermophiles are discussed. Here, we use a hyperthermophilic, cellulolytic bacterium, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, as a case study to demonstrate the development of a genetic system for an industrially useful thermophile, describing in detail methods for transformation, genetic tool utilization, and chromosomal modification using targeted gene deletion and insertion techniques.

Methods in Molecular Biology: Metabolic Pathway Engineering