World J Microbiol Biotechnol 2012 May 14;28(5):2249-56. Epub 2012 Mar 14.
Departamento de Bioingeniería, Facultad de Ingeniería, Instituto de Ingeniería Química, Julio Herrera y Reissig 565, 11300 Montevideo, Uruguay.
Antarctic environments can sustain a great diversity of well-adapted microorganisms known as psychrophiles or psychrotrophs. The potential of these microorganisms as a resource of enzymes able to maintain their activity and stability at low temperature for technological applications has stimulated interest in exploration and isolation of microbes from this extreme environment. Enzymes produced by these organisms have a considerable potential for technological applications because they are known to have higher enzymatic activities at lower temperatures than their mesophilic and thermophilic counterparts. A total of 518 Antarctic microorganisms, were isolated during Antarctic expeditions organized by the Instituto Antártico Uruguayo. Samples of particules suspended in air, ice, sea and freshwater, soil, sediment, bird and marine animal faeces, dead animals, algae, plants, rocks and microbial mats were collected from different sites in maritime Antarctica. We report enzymatic activities present in 161 microorganisms (120 bacteria, 31 yeasts and 10 filamentous fungi) isolated from these locations. Enzymatic performance was evaluated at 4 and 20°C. Most of yeasts and bacteria grew better at 20°C than at 4°C, however the opposite was observed with the fungi. Amylase, lipase and protease activities were frequently found in bacterial strains. Yeasts and fungal isolates typically exhibited lipase, celullase and gelatinase activities. Bacterial isolates with highest enzymatic activities were identified by 16S rDNA sequence analysis as Pseudomonas spp., Psychrobacter sp., Arthrobacter spp., Bacillus sp. and Carnobacterium sp. Yeasts and fungal strains, with multiple enzymatic activities, belonged to Cryptococcus victoriae, Trichosporon pullulans and Geomyces pannorum.