Industrial Microbiology, Biology tutorial


Industrial microbiology has been employed in the manufacture of products via the utilization of microorganisms. Microorganisms have been of immerse profit to humanity via their role in food production and processing, the utilization of their products to enhance human and animal health, in agriculture and for the maintenance and enhancement of ecological conditions. The study of industrial microbiology joins various areas like beverages and foods, antibiotics and vaccines, agriculture and allied and so on.

Industrial microbiology comprises the use of microorganism to attain particular goals. Industrial microbiology, though, usually focuses on products like pharmaceutical and medical compounds (example: antibiotics, hormones and transformed steroids), solvents organic acids, chemical feedstock's, amino acids and enzymes which encompass financial value. The microorganism utilized through industry has been isolated from nature, and in most of the cases, were modified by using classic mutation-selection procedures. Genetic engineering has substituted this more traditional approach to building microbial strains of industrial significance.

Nature of Industrial Microbiology:

Microorganisms are employed in industrial microbiology to make a broad diversity of products and to help in maintaining and enhancing the environment. Most of the work in industrial microbiology has traditionally been taken out by using microorganisms isolated from nature or modified via mutations. Microorganisms having particular genetic feature are now much commonly genetically engineered to meet up the desired objectives.

Microorganism of Industrial Importance:

The utilization of microorganisms in industrial microbiology follows a logical series. It is essential to first recognize or make a microorganism which carried out the desired method in the most proficient way. This microorganism or its cloned genes are then employed, either in a controlled environment like fermenters or in complex natural systems, like in soils or water, to attain particular goals.

The primary task of an industrial microbiologist is to determine an appropriate microorganism that consists of the given features.

  • Genetically stable
  • Simple to maintain and grow
  • Well suitable for extraction or separation of preferred products

Finding Microorganisms in Nature:

Till relatively recently, microbial cultures employed in industrial microbiology were frequently attained from natural materials like soil samples, waters and spoiled fruit and bread. Culture from all regions of the world continues to be examined to recognize new strains having desirable features. Hunting for new microorganisms is termed as bioprospecting.

Genetic Manipulation of Microorganism:

Genetic manipulations are employed to produce microorganism having new and desirable features. The classical processes of genetic exchange coupled by recombinant DNA technology play an essential role in the growth of cultures for the industrial microbiology.

1) Mutagenes:

Once a promising microorganism is found a diversity of methods can be employed for its enhancement, comprising chemical mutagens, ultraviolet light and transposon mutagenesis. For illustration, the primary cultures of Penicillium notatum that could be grown only beneath stationary conditions, yielded low concentration of the Penicillium.

In the year 1943, a strain of Penicillium chrysogenum was isolated - strain NRRL 1951 - which was further enhanced via mutation. Nowadays most of the penicillin is generated by Penicillium chrysogenum, grown in the aerobic stirred fermenters that provide 55-fold higher Penicillium yield than the unique static cultures.

2) Protoplast Fusion:

Most of the molds and yeast are asexual or of a single mating kind, which reduce the chance of random mutation which would lead to strain degeneration. Protoplast fusion can be employed in the genetic studies by the microorganism.

Protoplast cells lacking a cell wall are made up by growing the cells in an isotonic solution as treating them by the enzymes, comprising cellulose and beta-galacturonidase. The protoplasts are then produced by employing osmotic stabilizers like sucrose. After regeneration of the cell wall, require protoplasm fusion product can be employed in further studies.

The main benefit of protoplast fusion method is that protoplasts of various microbial species can be fused, even when they are closely associated taxonomically. For instance, protoplasts of Penicillium roquefortii have been fused by those of P. chrysogenum. Yet yeast protoplasts and erythrocytes can be fused.

3) Transfer of Genetic Information among various Organisms:

The transfer and expression of genes among various organisms can give mount to novel metabolic methods and products. This is the part of the rapidly developing field of combinatorial biology.

A significant early instance of this approach was the creation of the 'super bug' patented through A.M. Chakarabarty in the year 1974, which had an increased ability of hydrocarbon degradation other illustrations are the expression, in E. coli, of the enzyme cretininase from Psuedomonas putida and the production of the pediocin, a bacteriocin, in a yeast employed in wine fermentation for the main aim of controlling bacteria contaminants. Genetic information transfer lets the production of particular proteins and peptides devoid of contamination by other products.

4) Modification of Gene Expression:

Apart from inserting new genes in organisms, it is as well possible to modify gene regulation through modifying regulatory molecules or the DNA sites to which they bind. The approaches make it possible to overproduce a broad diversity of products.

A recent growth is the use of modified gene expression to produce the variants of the antibiotic erythromycin. Blocking specific biochemical steps in the pathway for the synthesis of an antibiotic precursor yield in the modified final products. Such altered products, which encompass slightly different structures, are tested for their possible antimicrobial effects. Moreover, this approach facilitates a better comprehending of the structure - function relationships of the antibiotics.

5) Protein Evolution:

One of the latest approaches for making novel metabolic capabilities in a given microorganism is protein evolution that employs forced evolution, adaptive mutation and in vitro evolution. Forced evolution and adaptive mutation comprises the application of specific ecological stresses to 'force' microorganism to mutate and adapt, therefore making microorganisms with new biological abilities. The methods of such adaptive mutational methods comprise DNA rearrangement in which transposable elements and different kinds of recombination play vital roles.

Invitro evolution begins having purified nucleic acids instead of a whole organism, DNA templates (example: mutagenized version of genes whose product is of interest) are transcribed in vitro through a phage RNA polymerase into RNA molecules which are selected depend on their capacity to function a specific function. The enzyme reverse transcriptase is then employed to copy the chosen RNA molecules in DNA that can be amplified through PCR subsequent to a number of such cycles; a gene which might be of industrial significance will evolve.

Preservation of Microorganisms:

Once a microorganism or virus has been chosen or made to serve up a particular aim, it should be preserved in its original form for further utilization and study. Periodic transfer of cultures has been employed in the past; however this can lead to the mutation and phenotypic modifications in microorganism. To avoid such problems, a diversity of culture preservative methods might be employed to main desired culture features. Lyophilization, or freeze drying and storage in liquid nitrogen are often employed by microorganism.

However storage are complicated and need expensive equipment, they let microbial cultures to be stored for years devoid of loss of viability or an accumulation of the undesirable mutations.

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