Kingdom - Archaebacteria

The Archaebacteria Kingdom contains many extremophiles - microorganisms that live and grow well in conditions normally considered too extreme for life, such as high temperatures (hyperthermophilic microorganisms), or high or low pH levels. A number of industrial processes are being explored to take advantage of this property. The cells are prokaryotic (lacking a membrane-bound nucleus).

A number of species are used commercially. For example:
  • Rhodothermus marinus has been grown to produce thermostable xylanases
  • Pyrococcus furiosus has produced thermostable DNA polymerases - allowing a rapid technique for cloning DNA.
  • Other species of Pyrococcus have been used to produce amylases, galactosidase, and pullulanases that can function at temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius - allowing food processing at high temperatures.
  • Methanogenic (methane producing) species are vital in the treatment of waste water (sewage) and in the anaerobic digestion industry where they are used to produce biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide. The biogas can be burned to produce electricity, or the methane and carbon dioxide can be used to make high-value products as outlined elsewhere in this website.
  • Species the can thrive in very low pH environments can be used to extract metals from ores, including gold, cobalt and copper.
  • Some species, such as Haloarchaea and Sulfolobus are able to produce a class of antibiotics.

Some of these Archaebacteria will be examined in detail elsewhere in this website.

Back to Home page