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Brock Biology of Microorganisms

While some fear microbes due to the association of some microbes with various human diseases, many microbes are also responsible for numerous beneficial processes such as industrial fermentation (e.g. the production of alcoholvinegar and dairy products), antibioticproduction and act as molecular vehicles to transfer DNA to complex organisms such as plants and animals. Scientists have also exploited their knowledge of microbes to produce biotechnologically important enzymes such as Taq polymerasereporter genes for use in other genetic systems and novel molecular biology techniques such as the yeast two-hybrid system.[citation needed]

Bacteria can be used for the industrial production of amino acidsCorynebacterium glutamicum is one of the most important bacterial species with an annual production of more than two million tons of amino acids, mainly L-glutamate and L-lysine.[31] Since some bacteria have the ability to synthesize antibiotics, they are used for medicinal purposes, such as Streptomyces to make aminoglycoside antibiotics.[32]

Fermenting tanks with yeast being used to brewbeer

A variety of biopolymers, such as polysaccharidespolyesters, and polyamides, are produced by microorganisms. Microorganisms are used for the biotechnological production of biopolymers with tailored properties suitable for high-value medical application such as tissue engineering and drug delivery. Microorganisms are for example used for the biosynthesis of xanthanalginatecellulosecyanophycin, poly(gamma-glutamic acid), levanhyaluronic acid, organic acids, oligosaccharides polysaccharide and polyhydroxyalkanoates.[33]

Microorganisms are beneficial for microbial biodegradation or bioremediation of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastes and subsurface pollutionin soils, sediments and marine environments. The ability of each microorganism to degrade toxic waste depends on the nature of each contaminant. Since sites typically have multiple pollutant types, the most effective approach to microbial biodegradation is to use a mixture of bacterial and fungal species and strains, each specific to the biodegradation of one or more types of contaminants.[34