Microbial Biotechnology, vol. 3(5): 489-623: a special issue on 'Marine-omic Research for Advances in Environmental Science and Biotechnology', published in September 2010.
A special issue of Microbial Biotechnology following the NSF/EU - CIESM Joint Workshop on Marine Genomics, held in Monaco, 2008.
This issue can be directly downloaded from the publisher web site — Free access until the end of 2010.
Editors: Kenneth N. Timmis, Juan Luis Ramos, Willem de Vos, Willy Verstraete and Martin Rosenberg.
This volume contains original results, illustrating with a few, non-exhaustive examples, the richness and diversity of issues from bioprospecting, bioinformatics to benefit sharing that are legitimately clustered under the `blue biotechnology` banner. Many of these ideas were presented and discussed during the CIESM-NSF/EC Workshop `Marine Genomics: at the Interface of Marine Microbial Ecology and Biotechnological Applications' that took place in Monaco on 1214 October 2008. This forum gathered some 40 international experts from the academic and industrial sectors, including researchers from both northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean who took an active part in the Panel discussions. The ideas and guidelines derived from this meeting are accessible online at http://ec.europa.eu/research/biotechnology/ec-us/workshop_past_en.html.
The structure of this special issue is designed to sensitize the reader to the need of integrating many distinct threads, including some that might appear at first way off-centre, in order to progress effectively along the biotechnology front. Among those, the legal, economic and ethical implications have become key issues than can no longer be ignored, taking on a new dimension that is often controversial. The issue of ownership of open sea genetic resources is further developed in an invited opinion article that proposes various policy-related options for negotiation.
This special issue includes selected examples of environment-related research, all based on the application of multidisciplinary approaches. They strongly illustrate the need to couple bioprospecting efforts with detailed records of major environmental parameters so as to clarify the role of specific processes, enzymes or metabolites in nature, and thus orient industrial application studies.
Clearly, the broad support that high-throughput studies of marine microbial diversity have received as providers of uncovered information, e.g. on new biogeochemical cycles, energy-coupling mechanisms, biotransformation, secondary metabolite and bioactive compound biosyntheses, is now accompanied by a welcome move to concentrate efforts on novel technologies that will allow the recovery and pure culture of a much larger fraction of the marine bacteria naturally found in the ocean than the 0.1% of today, which is certainly encouraging for the near future.
Microbial Biotechnology, vol.3(5): 489-623