The Earth's bounty: assessing and accessing soil microbial diversity

Trends Biotechnol. 1999 Oct;17(10):403-9. doi: 10.1016/s0167-7799(99)01352-9.


The study of microbial diversity represents a major opportunity for advances in biology and biotechnology. Recent progress in molecular microbial ecology shows that the extent of microbial diversity in nature is far greater than previously thought. Here, we discuss methods to analyse microorganisms from natural environments without culturing them and new approaches for gaining access to the genetic and chemical resources of these microorganisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Earth, Planet*
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Archaeal
  • DNA, Bacterial