True Psychrophiles and Part Time Psychrophiles in the Antarctic



Given that Polar environments still represent a ‘frontier’ to many, there is an inclination to still explore these ecosystems not for the broader interests in ecological knowledge but rather for more immediate concerns. The desire to harness biological diversity as a resource is well known and a highly vigorous endeavour driven by the continuous demand for new resources and innovations beckon new directions and opportunities. For example it is abundantly clear we need new or improved pharmaceuticals for dealing with infectious disease as well as other pervasive medical conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Since biodiscovery is inherently empirical, scattershot approaches are often too hopeful and unfocused for anything substantial to be gained. However, with greater knowledge on how microbes function and their genetic contents, value can be gained and in addition gain a greater appreciation of associated environmental services as well as metabolic capacities and idiosyncrasies. Thus bioprospecting for novel pharmaceutical activity, cold active enzymes, and unusual and/or new biological products should take an intelligent directed as well as in-depth approach in order to realise value and understanding. To achieve this we need knowledge about microorganisms at a functional, mechanistic and genetic level and not just taxonomic and phylogenetic.


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