Microorganisms thriving under extreme environments have proven to be an invaluable resource for metabolic products and processes. While studies carried out on microbial characterization of extremophilic environments during golden era of microbiology adapted a ‘reductionist approach’ and focused on isolation, purification and characterization of individual microbial isolates; the recent studies have implemented a holistic approach using both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches for characterization of total microbial diversity of the extreme environments. Findings from these studies have unmistakably indicated that microbial diversity within extreme environments is much higher than anticipated. Consequently, unraveling the taxonomic and metabolic characteristics of microbial diversity in extreme environments has emerged as an imposing challenge in the field of microbiology and microbial biotechnology. To a great extent, this challenge has been addressed with inception and advancement of next-generation sequencing and computing methods for NGS data analyses. However, further it has been realized that in order to maximize the exploitation of genetic and metabolic diversity of extremophilic microbial diversity, the metagenomic approaches must be combined synergistically with single-cell genomics. A synergistic approach is expected to provide comprehensions into the biology of extremophilic microorganism, including their metabolic potential, molecular mechanisms of adaptations, unique genomic features including codon reassignments etc.
Part of the book: Extremophilic Microbes and Metabolites