Scientists from the
"Our research addresses unanswered questions on the evolution of microbial life and their potential utilization in biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries," said
The expedition's quest for life in hostile waters involved the study of five poorly explored brine pools, including the Atlantis II and Discovery Deep pools. These pools are the least researched marine ecosystems in the region. Atlantis II is located in the central rift of the
Siam and her group recently submitted a patent for such an extremophilic enzyme, adapted to function in conditions of extreme temperature, pressure and heavy metal concentration. Isolated from one of the
Humans have been using enzymes in food-manufacturing processes for many years. Siam said that biotechnology has made it possible to segregate and identify various enzyme qualities that are required in these food processes. "It has allowed the development of specialized strains, which may aid in improving the flavor and quality of food products. Some enzymes may be used to make the process cheaper and more predictable, while other enzymes prolong expiry dates, stabilize food products, or control alcohol and sugar content."
In detergents for example, this special enzyme may be used to disintegrate proteins that cause stains. "A prevalent area of research is the investigation of thermotolerant enzymes," explained Siam. "The search for these kinds of enzymes spans the globe, since they are especially desirable for improving laundry processes in hot-water cycles and for the removal of difficult stains. This would give detergent manufacturers an edge within the industry."
Siam's recent discoveries also have vast applications in the paper and pulp industry. Additionally, enzymes and peptides are used in mainstream medicine. "We are currently researching therapeutic enzyme uses and looking at potential antimicrobial drugs," said Siam.
Siam and her team study the collective DNA maps of bacteria, from which enzymes are extracted, at AUC's High Throughput Genomic facility in the
In addition, by analyzing the DNA, scientists gain an understanding of the genes, as well as their translated proteins that allows them to reside in such an environment. Siam, hopes to contribute to the regional scientific advancement by establishing a comprehensive environmental genomics database. "Our
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