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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 2

Industrial Microbiology

Vertical Transmission

One of our key committees is the National Examinations and Qualifications Board (NEQB), whose role is to oversee the awarding of MASM and FASM. Membership of the NEQB has undergone a number of changes recently. These involved Peter Timms, who stepped down as Chair after a lengthy period of outstanding service. Peter's replacement is Julian Rood, a former president of ASM, who has returned to assist us once more. Another major change is the impending retirement of the Registrar, Tuckweng Kok, who will be replaced by Gary Lum (Registrar) and Kate...

Industrial microbiology

The exploitation of microorganisms has been part of humankind for millennia. Today this use has increased immensely as we re-purpose microorganisms in many novel ways to facilitate processes in food, pharmaceutical, detergent and mining industries. This issue of Microbiology Australia includes a brief look at the breadth of Industrial Microbiology and what it is offering us now and into the future.

Influenza vaccine production technologies: past, present and future

Influenza is a constantly evolving global health threat that leads to substantial morbidity and mortality particularly in vulnerable populations at either end of the age spectrum. Society has responded by creating a global public-private system that involves constant surveillance, candidate virus generation, and release reagent generation linked to worldwide influenza vaccine manufacturing capabilities. It was initially recognised that influenza circulates as multiple antigenically distinct subtypes, which led to the generation of vaccines cont...

Yeast as a model organism for the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries

Considerable knowledge about how we function has come through the use of the unicellular microbe yeast. Yeasts are eukaryotes like us and the similarity between us and yeasts is readily visible at the molecular level. This places yeast as an important tool for industries involved in health research, including pharmaceutical and nutraceutical discovery.

Revisiting biodiscovery from microbial sources in the light of molecular advances

Since the discovery of penicillin microorganisms have been an unexhausted source of novel bioactive compounds that served as scaffolds for potential drug candidates as well for the development of new antibiotics via fermentative processes. However, after 30 glorious years of biodiscovery begun in the 1940s, discovery of new antibiotic or therapeutic compounds with medicinal value entered a decline phase from the late 1970s onwards. At the same time, significant increases in the numbers of antibiotic or multi-drug resistant bacteria resulting in...

Microbial Resources: From Functional Existence in Nature to Applications

Microbial Resources: From Functional Existence in Nature to Applications (Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-12-804765-1) provides an exciting interdisciplinary journey covering sustainable use of microbial resources stemming from sound understanding on their functional existence in nature, and utilising this knowledge for industrial and biotechnological applications. Examples include: (1) molecular detection, culturing and preservation of bioactive microorganisms, (2) socioeconomic value deriving from their industrial use, as well as (3) legal perspe...

Application of bacteriophages

The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and decrease in the discovery rate of novel antibiotics takes mankind back to the ‘pre-antibiotic era' and search for alternative treatments. Bacteriophages have been one of promising alternative agents which can be utilised for medicinal and biological control purposes in agriculture and related fields. The idea to treat bacterial infections with phages came out of the pioneering work of Félix d‘Hérelle but this was overshadowed by the success of antibiotics. Recent renewed...

Mammalian cell cultures

There is increasing demand worldwide for high-quality complex proteins for treating diseases and for clinical and pre-clinical studies involving recombinant proteins, vaccines, and monoclonal antibodies, many of which are the products of mammalian cell cultures. Biologics or protein-based drugs had a global market over US$200 billion in 2016, with eight of the top 10 selling drugs with a combined global sales over US$55 billion produced using mammalian cell cultures1,2. Recombinant proteins are also significant ...

Production of statins by fungal fermentation

Fungi are used industrially to obtain a variety of products, from low value bulk chemicals to high value drugs like, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, alkaloids and statins. Lovastatin and compactin are natural statins produced as secondary metabolites by predominantly Aspergillus and Penicillium species, following a polyketide pathway. Lovastatin was one of the first cholesterol-lowering drugs. Many statins are now chemically synthesised but lovastatin is still required to produce simvastatin. Apart from reducing blood cholesterol...

Hacking nature: genetic tools for reprograming enzymes

Enzymes have many modern industrial applications, from biomass decomposition in the production of biofuels to highly stereospecific biotransformations in pharmaceutical manufacture. The capacity to find or engineer enzymes with activities pertinent to specific applications has been essential for the growth of a multibillion dollar enzyme industry. Over the course of the past 50–60 years our capacity to address this issue has become increasingly sophisticated, supported by innumerable advances, from early discoveries such as the co-linear...

Microbiology of winemaking

The production of alcoholic beverages, such as winemaking, has a long history, dating back well over 7000 years. The winemaking process is not vastly different to that used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. The main difference is that modern-day winemakers have much more control over the different steps; time and method of grape harvesting, use of selected yeast and bacteria, and maturation techniques. The various yeast and bacteria involved in winemaking originate in the vineyard, on grapes and winemaking equipment. Even though yeast and ba...

Beer: old’s now new again

In the ‘Executive Style' section of a recent edition1 of The Age newspaper there was a list of the top 100 craft beers in 2016. That’s a ranking out of 300 or more national craft beers. The craft boom is driving a renewal in technical training, career opportunities and a deeper understanding of the underlying scientific basis of traditional brewing approaches.

Bioaugmentation: an effective commercial technology for the removal of phenols from wastewater

Phenol represents a huge problem in industrial wastewater effluents and needs to be removed due to its toxic and carcinogenic nature. The removal of phenol from the wastewater is often both expensive and time consuming; there is therefore a requirement for a more effective, sustainable solution for the removal of phenol from wastewaters. Bioaugmentation or the addition of phenol degrading microorganisms to contaminated effluents is one such sustainable approach being considered. Here, we describe how bioaugmentation has been applied for the bio...

Algal biotechnology for pursuing omega-3 fatty acid (bioactive) production

Algae are spread in diversified ecosystems that include marine, freshwater, desert and hot springs and even snow and ice environments. Algae are classified as multicellular large sea weeds (macroalgae) or unicellular microalgae. Macroalgae are targeted for mining of natural biologically active components, which include proteins, linear peptides, cyclic peptides, and amino acids1. Recently, microalgae have been exploited for the production of high-value compounds such as lipids (omega-3 fatty acids), enzymes, polymers, toxins, antioxi...

Plugging in microbial metabolism for industrial applications

The ability of electric microbes to electrically interact with electrodes is opening up a number of possibilities with industrial applications. Microbes are able to utilise the electrode as an electron source to reduce CO2 for the production of organic compounds directly or produce H2 as a reducing equivalent for partner microbes for the production of commodity chemicals. Electrodes can also allow redox unbalanced fermentation processes to occur through the addition or subtraction of reducing equivalents that remove bottle...

New approaches to VLP-based vaccines

Vaccination is a long and established field of research, and outputs from the research have saved countless millions of lives. The early vaccines were developed with scant regard for the immunological mechanisms at play, largely because they were unknown. We are now in a position to use our knowledge of immunology to rationally design vaccines. This article focusses on the use of virus-like particles (VLPs) as vaccines.

Volume 38 Number 2

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