Novel enzymes from the Red Sea Brine Pools

Novel enzymes from the Red Sea Brine Pools

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The KAUST Catalysis Center is involved in a project sponsored by SEDCO, which targets to investigate one of Earth's most unusual habitats: the Red Sea Brine Pools. In these pools, which are located on the bottom of the Red Sea, up 2700 m below the surface, salinity of up to 30 %, temperatures of 70 °C and high concentrations of heavy metal ions seam to make live impossible. However, several novel microbes have been found to thrive in these pools. Enzymes which are able to function under such conditions will have a high potential in biocatalytic applications. In collaboration with researchers from the KAUST Red Sea Research Center (RSRC) and the KAUST Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC), we have started to harvest the genetic gold of the Red Sea brine pools. A novel strategy was developed to identified genes of interest. The genes will be expressed in halophilic and mesophilic expression systems and the resulting enzymes will be characterized and tested in biotechnological applications.