Keynote Presentation: Challenges and opportunities of bioprospection through microbial culture collections

Wednesday March 8
Session 1: Evolving regulatory aspects of marine biodiversity
14:30

Keynote Presentation: Challenges and opportunities of bioprospection through microbial culture collections

Jörg Overmann, Managing Director
Leibniz-Institut DSMZ, Germany
The immense diversity of microorganisms living in our world has remained largely untapped, especially with regard to bioprospection. Through their isolation, microbial resources attain a substantial monetary value (~11,000 Euro) which microbial culture collections preserve in a highly cost-effective manner. An untargeted isolation and screening approach therefore is exceedingly expensive and provides no financial benefit for bioprospection. Instead, extended characterization, metabolic profiling, and genome analyses of novel types of microorganisms is required to efficiently target the microbial resources most promising for future applications. This presentation outlines the preconditions and scenarios for public collections to expand their traditional tasks and enter the field of bioprospecting. Particular challenges are achieving improved access to the vast uncharted microbial biodiversity, the compliance with new legal requirements (in particular the Nagoya Protocol which entered into force on October 12, 2014), and the ability to link efficiently to private industry as a novel stakeholder.