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Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 147671, 10 pages
Review Article

Archaeal Enzymes and Applications in Industrial Biocatalysts

Henry Wellcome Building for Biocatalysis, Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK

Received 23 July 2015; Accepted 19 August 2015

Academic Editor: Juergen Wiegel

Copyright © 2015 Jennifer A. Littlechild. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Archaeal enzymes are playing an important role in industrial biotechnology. Many representatives of organisms living in “extreme” conditions, the so-called Extremophiles, belong to the archaeal kingdom of life. This paper will review studies carried by the Exeter group and others regarding archaeal enzymes that have important applications in commercial biocatalysis. Some of these biocatalysts are already being used in large scale industrial processes for the production of optically pure drug intermediates and amino acids and their analogues. Other enzymes have been characterised at laboratory scale regarding their substrate specificity and properties for potential industrial application. The increasing availability of DNA sequences from new archaeal species and metagenomes will provide a continuing resource to identify new enzymes of commercial interest using both bioinformatics and screening approaches.