I mentioned that it's microbiology week at fellow Scienceblog Deep Sea News. Today's post over there is on "bioprospecting" in the sea--looking for naturally-produced chemicals that we can harness for employment as drugs or other uses. For example:
Over the last 20 years at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution we have developed a culture collection containing 17,000 bacteria and fungi from deep-water marine invertebrates and sediments. We have shown that the collection contains many unusual microbes which are not known from the terrestrial environment and are fermenting the isolates to produce extracts for screening as antibacterial or anticancer agents.
Click the link for more...
Funny, just ten minutes before reading this I was listening to a senior person in the Life Sciences division at work making just the same point - using marine extracts to expand combinatorial libraries.