Biotechnological Applications of Marine Enzymes From Algae, Bacteria, Fungi, and Sponges

Adv Food Nutr Res. 2017;80:75-106. doi: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Dec 29.


Diversity is the hallmark of all life forms that inhabit the soil, air, water, and land. All these habitats pose their unique inherent challenges so as to breed the "fittest" creatures. Similarly, the biodiversity from the marine ecosystem has evolved unique properties due to challenging environment. These challenges include permafrost regions to hydrothermal vents, oceanic trenches to abyssal plains, fluctuating saline conditions, pH, temperature, light, atmospheric pressure, and the availability of nutrients. Oceans occupy 75% of the earth's surface and harbor most ancient and diverse forms of organisms (algae, bacteria, fungi, sponges, etc.), serving as an excellent source of natural bioactive molecules, novel therapeutic compounds, and enzymes. In this chapter, we introduce enzyme technology, its current state of the art, unique enzyme properties, and the biocatalytic potential of marine algal, bacterial, fungal, and sponge enzymes that have indeed boosted the Marine Biotechnology Industry. Researchers began exploring marine enzymes, and today they are preferred over the chemical catalysts for biotechnological applications and functions, encompassing various sectors, namely, domestic, industrial, commercial, and healthcare. Next, we summarize the plausible pros and cons: the challenges encountered in the process of discovery of the potent compounds and bioactive metabolites such as biocatalysts/enzymes of biomedical, therapeutic, biotechnological, and industrial significance. The field of Marine Enzyme Technology has recently assumed importance, and if it receives further boost, it could successfully substitute other chemical sources of enzymes useful for industrial and commercial purposes and may prove as a beneficial and ecofriendly option. With appropriate directions and encouragement, marine enzyme technology can sustain the rising demand for enzyme production while maintaining the ecological balance, provided any undesired exploitation of the marine ecosystem is avoided.

Keywords: Algae; Bacteria; Enzyme technology; Fungi; Marine biotechnology; Marine enzyme applications; Sponges.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquatic Organisms / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Chlorophyta / enzymology
  • Ecosystem
  • Fungi / enzymology*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Phaeophyta / enzymology
  • Porifera / enzymology*
  • Rhodophyta / enzymology