An ever-increasing number of fine chemicals and enzymes is now produced based on microbial biotechnology. Microbial products generally display desired chirality, are biodegradable and are produced from renewable (agro)-substrates. Bioconversion reactions, based on the use of (immobilised) biocatalysts (cell or enzymes), yield interesting regio- and enantioselective molecules under mild reaction conditions, starting from racemic precursors. Furthermore these bioprocesses have a positive environmental impact. Ingenious screening procedures for novel microbial primary and secondary metabolites, bioactive peptides, proteins and enzymes reveal that only the tip of the iceberg has been explored. Examples of such novel microbial products pertain to enzymes, enzyme-inhibitors, biopolysaccharides, bio-plastics, bioactive peptides, bacteriocins, targeted toxins, alkaloids, steroids, immunomodulators, vaccines, antibiotics and lantibiotics, biopesticides, vitamins and related growth factors, amino acids and specialty sugars, polyols and organic acids, biomagnets, bioflavours and biopigments. Several trends are discussed which are now in vogue to detect novel useful compounds from microbes. Examples are given of those microbial metabolites and enzymes, which have attracted industrial interest.