Towards a sustainable biobased industry – Highlighting the impact of extremophiles
The transition of the oil-based economy towards a sustainable economy completely relying on biomass as renewable feedstock requires the concerted action of academia, industry, politics and civil society. An interdisciplinary approach of various fields such as microbiology, molecular biology, chemistry, genetics, chemical engineering and agriculture in addition to cross-sectional technologies such as economy, logistics and digitalization is necessary to meet the future global challenges. The genomic era has contributed significantly to the exploitation of naturés biodiversity also from extreme habitats. By applying modern technologies it is now feasible to deliver robust enzymes (extremozymes) and robust microbial systems that are active at temperatures up to 120 °C, at pH 0 and 12 and at 1000 bar. In the post-genomic era, different sophisticated “omics” analyses will allow the identification of countless novel enzymes regardless of the lack of cultivability of most microorganisms. Furthermore, elaborate protein-engineering methods are clearing the way towards tailor-made robust biocatalysts. Applying environmentally friendly and efficient biological processes, terrestrial and marine biomass can be converted to high value products e.g. chemicals, building blocks, biomaterials, pharmaceuticals, food, feed and biofuels. Thus, further application of extremophiles has the potential to improve sustainability of existing biotechnological processes towards a greener biobased industry.
570: Biowissenschaften, Biologie