MBI Bioproducts harnesses the hidden value of uncultivated microbial genomes for development of high value bioproducts.
The growth of the bioeconomy has the potential to benefit many aspects of society. Most biocatalysts used by industry today originated from organisms cultivated in a laboratory environment. The microbial world harbours a wealth of DNA sequence information that can be harnessed for the production of bioproducts and enzymes that mediate industrially relevant chemical reactions. In some cases, the biological processes encoded by these gene products can produce high-energy organic compounds that may begin to directly replace fossil fuel- based technologies that are harmful to the environment. For many years, access to the full richness of the genetic material in the microbial world has been hampered by the inability to cultivate most microbes present in microbial communities. Envirogenomics now provides access to the DNA from this uncultivated microbial majority. We produce high quality, comprehensive custom gene libraries from DNA that is extracted directly from environmental samples such as soil, sediment or water. These libraries then represent the genetic material from each of the microorganisms present in that sample. Genes of potential value can be detected using screening strategies, and in this way, diverse and novel genes from uncultivated microorganisms that carry out desired functions may be exploited, without the prerequisite of cultivation. In addition to their use for direct production of bioproducts, we are also able to incorporate the genes into strategies for strain development.