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Extremophiles and their application to veterinary medicine.

Authors
  • Irwin, Jane Ann
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental technology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2010
Volume
31
Issue
8-9
Pages
857–869
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09593330.2010.484073
PMID: 20662377
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Extremophiles can be defined as organisms that can survive in extreme environments that cannot support mammalian life. They include microorganisms that can tolerate temperature extremes, extremes of pH, salinity, hydrostatic pressure and ionizing radiation, as well as low oxygen tension, desiccation and the presence of heavy metals. Psychrophilic organisms also include fish in polar waters and animals that withstand freezing. Rare examples of thermophilic pathogens exist, and the main category of extremophilic animal pathogens comprises psychrophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms that cause fish diseases, e.g. Flavobacterium psychrophilum, Moritella viscosa, Aliivibrio wodanis and Aliivibrio salmonicida. The most widely known application of an extremophile product in veterinary medicine is DNA polymerase from thermophiles, which is a mainstay of PCR-based diagnostics for an extensive range of animal pathogens. DNA polymerases and other extremophile enzymes are also used in many molecular biology applications and animal genomics. Other extremophile products may find application in veterinary medicine in the future. These include enzymes in biosensors, compatible solutes in skin care products, drug excipients, treatments for respiratory disease, radioprotectants, peptide antibiotics, archaeal lipids for drug delivery and anti-cancer therapeutics.

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