4.Bacteria:A rich source for making Terpenes

Bacteria could be a rich source of terpenes, the natural compounds common in plants and fungi that are used to make drugs, food additives, perfumes, and other products, a new study suggests. The work also suggests that there may be many new terpene products as yet undiscovered hiding in the genomes of bacteria.

If you've ever enjoyed the scent of a pine forest or sniffed a freshly cut basil leaf, then you're familiar with terpenes. The compounds are responsible for the essential oils of plants and the resins of trees. Since the discovery of terpenes more than 150 years ago, scientists have isolated some 50,000 different terpene compounds derived from plants and fungi. Bacteria and other microorganisms are known to make terpenes too, but they've received much less study.

The genetic capacity of bacteria to make terpenes is widespread. Using a specialized technique to sift through genomic databases for a variety of bacteria, there are 262 gene sequences that likely code for terpene synthases -- enzymes that catalyze the production terpenes. Several of those enzymes could be used to isolate 13 previously unidentified bacterial terpenes.

 
 
 

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