Functional Diversity of Biocatalysts: Whether to Bioprospect or Bioengineer?
Biocatalyst should have sufficient and efficient activity for the intended biotechnological application. In the quest for novel biocatalyst, there is a need to have a genetic diversity either by finding it within the astronomically large number of possible candidates or to obtain it by bioengineering an existing gene supported by various bioinformatic and molecular engineering tools. Nowadays, it is well-known that huge number of microorganisms is unculturable and poses great challenges to access biocatalysts from these microbes. Metagenomics is one of the methods widely applied to reach out maximum possible variants to â€œbioprospectâ€ biocatalysts. On the other hand, other approaches are available to bioengineer enzymes by modifying the DNA sequence precisely based on the structure and the function information of the protein in the case of rational design, or by a brave creation of anarchic mutations of the DNA sequence with directed evolution method. In this regard, both approaches, whether to bioprospect or to bioengineer biocatalysts have advantages and disadvantages which will be discussed in this paper.
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