Bioreactors in our laboratory.
Our experts can produce archaea in bioreactors, thus being able to produce interesting enzymes for green chemistry purposes. Extremophile archaea, particularly those resistant either to heat or to extremes of acidity and alkalinity, are a source of enzymes that function under these harsh conditions. These enzymes have found many uses. Enzymes from thermophilic archaea tend to be very stable in organic solvents, allowing their use in environmentally friendly processes in green chemistry that synthesize organic compounds.
In contrast to the range of applications of archaean enzymes, the use of the organisms themselves in biotechnology is less developed. Methanogenic archaea are a vital part of sewage treatment, since they are part of the community of microorganisms that carry out anaerobic digestion and produce biogas. In mineral processing, acidophilic archaea display promise for the extraction of metals from ores, including gold, cobalt and copper.
Archaea host a new class of potentially useful antibiotics.