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Home Georgian Technologies Microbial Diversity for Novel Biotechnology Applications

Microbial Diversity for Novel Biotechnology Applications


Georgia in spite of the small area (69,000 km2) is characterized by extreme soil-climatic diversity. Geologically, the territory of Georgia belongs to the Alpine System of Eurasia. Its geological and geomorphological structures reveal great diversity resulting from tectonic, volcanic, petrologic, gravitational, erosion, and other processes. One can distinguish several climatic zones from the humid, subtropical to the permanent snow and glaciers. Among diverse ecological niches should be mentioned thermal sulphur hot springs, alkaline soil, etc.

Collections of microorganisms accounting 3300 strains had been increasing for the last 4 years by 1813 strains, including 467 microscopic fungi, 480 actinobacteria and 866 bacteria. Among them are extremophiles: 165 cultures of microscopic fungi, 308 bacteria and 244 actinobacteria.

Among extremophilic microscopic fungi 81 were selected as active producers of stable carbohydrases: cellulases, ?-amylases, glucoamylase, xylanases, proteases and pectinases. Active producers of enzymes are mainly thermophiles and alkaliphiles, to lesser extent halophiles. Among acidophiles there are three active producers of cellulases.

Among bacteria and actinobacteria there are mainly protease producers – 65 bacteria (51 representative of genus Pseudomonas), among them 28 alkaliphiles, 11 alkalohalophiles, 26 halophile, and 39 actinobacteria (mostly genus Streptomyces), among them 6 alkliphiles, 1 psychrophiles and 32 halophiles.

Bacterial cultures are the best degraders of different carcinogenic compounds (PAH, explosives, chlorinated biphenyls).

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

Microorganisms in the Caucasus have never been thoroughly investigated. The 5,000-strain collection available in the Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology shows great diversity of taxonomic groups, extremophilicity, primary and secondary metabolites production, and biotransformation capabilities.

Extremophilic microorganisms represent a challenging scientific opportunity not only for those interested in microbial diversity and the evolution of life but for researchers looking for clues to extraterrestrial life.

Extremophiles produce unique biocatalysts that function under extreme conditions comparable to those prevailing in various industrial processes. Therefore, there is burgeoning interest in bioprospecting for extremophiles with potential immediate use in the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and in environmental biotechnology.

Areas of Application

Bioprospecting; genetic resources, food processing, agriculture, industry, medicine.

Fig. 1 Soil map of Georgia; sites of isolation of extremophilic microorganisms.

Stage of Development

Pure cultures of bacteria and actinobacteria, producers of secondary metabolites and characterized by biodegradation potential. Microscopic fungi strains, producers of stable enzymes.

Contact Details

Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Contact person: Professor George Kvesitadze
Address: David Agmasheneblis Kheivani, 10 km. 0159 Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 52 8238;
Tel/Fax: (995 32) 52 8026
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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