Clostridium

Authored by: Peter Dürre

Practical Handbook of Microbiology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466587397
eBook ISBN: 9781466587403
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b17871-31

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Abstract

Clostridium is one of the largest bacterial genera, including more than 150 validly described species. Among these are several with enormous biotechnological potential (e.g., for the production of biofuels, bulk chemicals, and important enzymes as well as for usage in cancer treatment) and also a few well-known pathogens. However, even some of their toxins proved meanwhile to be valuable in medical and cosmetic applications. Clostridia thus belong to the avant-garde of industrially useful microbes. Members of this genus stain in general gram positive, are more or less strictly anaerobic bacteria, employ an impressive number of varying fermentation routes, and are able to degrade numerous natural and artificial substances. Due to required precautions for excluding oxygen during handling, clostridia were for a long time virtually inaccessible at the genetic level. This situation has completely changed. Gene cloning, DNA transfer, gene expression modulation, and gene knockout as well as knock-in systems have been successfully established. Thus, the road is paved for further elucidation and commercial exploitation of the enormous metabolic potential of the clostridia.

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