You are on page 1of 9



Archaea is a domain of single-celled microorganisms. It has no cell

nucleus or any other organelles inside its cells. In the past, Archaea was
classified as an unusual group of bacteria and was named archaebacteria, but
since Archaea have an independent evolutionary history and manifest numerous
differences in their biochemistry from other forms of life, it is now classified as a
separate domain in the three-domain system. In this system the three primary
branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Eukarya and Bacteria.
Archaea is further divided into four recognized phyla, although other phyla may
exist. Of these groups the Crenarchaeota and the Euryarchaeota are most
intensively studied. Classifying the archaea is somewhat challenging, since the
vast majority have never been studied, and have chiefly been detected by
analysis of their nucleic acids in samples from the environment.
Archaea replicates asexually in a process
known as binary fission. Archaea achieve a swimming
motility via one or more tail-like flagellae. Many
archaeans are extremophiles, achieving wide
environmental tolerance of temperature, salinity,
and even radioactive environments. Archaea are
thought to be significant in global geochemical cycling,
since they comprise an estimated 20 percent of the
world's biomass; however, very little is known about
the domain, especially marine and deep-sea benthic

How Archaeas look like:

Some archaea look like little rods or tiny balls, and some even
get around like bacteria, using long hair- or whip-like
appendages called flagella that stick out of their cell walls
and act like a microscopic outboard motor to get them where
they are going.
Like bacteria, archaea lack a true nucleus. Both bacteria and
archaea usually have one DNA molecule suspended in the
cell's cytoplasm contained within a cell membrane. Most, but
not all, have a tough, rigid outer cell wall.
There are three main types of archaea:
the crenarchaeota (kren-are-key-oh-ta),
which are characterized by their ability to
tolerate extremes in temperature and
acidity. The euryarchaeota (you-ree-arekey-oh-ta), which include methaneproducers and salt-lovers; and the
korarchaeota (core-are-key-oh-ta), a
catch-all group for archaeans about which
very little is known.

Among these three main types of archaea are some

subtypes, which include:

Methanogens - are microorganisms that produce

methane as a metabolic byproduct in anoxic
conditions. They are classified as archaea, a domain
distinct from bacteria.

Halophiles - are organisms that thrive in high salt

concentrations. They are a type of extremophile
organism. The name comes from the Greek word for

Psychrophiles - are extremophilic bacteria or

archaea which are coldloving, having an optimal
temperature for growth at about 15C or lower, a
maximal temperature for growth at about 20C and a
minimal temperature for growth at 0C or lower.

The important uses of

archaebacteria :

1. Production of Thermostable enzymes

Cellular components of thermophilic organisms
(enzymes, proteins and nucleic acids) are also
thermostable. Apart from high temperature they are
also known to withstand denaturants of extremly acidic
and alkaline conditions. Thermostable enzymes are
highly specific and thus have considerable potential for
many industrial applications. The use of such enzymes
in maximizing reactions accomplished in the food and
paper industry, detergents, drugs, toxic wastes removal
and drilling for oil is being studied extensively. The
enzymes can be produced from the thermophiles
through either optimised fermentation of the
microorganisms or cloning of fast-growing mesophiles
by recombinant DNA technology. In this review, the
source microorganisms and properties of thermostable
starch hydrolysing amylases, xylanases, cellulases,


Production of antibiotics

The mass production of antibiotics began during World

War II with streptomycin and penicillin. Now most
antibiotics are produced by staged fermentations in
which strains of microorganisms producing high yields
are grown under optimum conditions in nutrient media
in fermentation tanks holding several thousand gallons.
The mold is strained out of the fermentation broth, and
then the antibiotic is removed from the broth by
filtration, precipitation, and other separation methods.
In some cases new antibiotics are laboratory
synthesized, while many antibiotics are produced by
chemically modifying natural substances; many such
derivatives are more effective than the natural
substances against infecting organisms or are better
absorbed by the body, e.g., some semisynthetic
penicillins are effective against bacteria resistant to the
parent substance.

3. Sewage Treatment
Sewage treatment is the process of removing contaminants
from wastewater, primarily from household sewage. It includes
physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove these
contaminants and produce environmentally safe treated
wastewater (or treated effluent). A by-product of sewage
treatment is usually a semi-solid waste or slurry, called sewage
sludge, that has to undergo further treatment before being
suitable for disposal or land application.
Sewage treatment may also be referred to as wastewater
treatment, although the latter is a broader term which can also
be applied to purely industrial wastewater. For most cities, the
sewer system will also carry a proportional of industrial
effluent to the sewage treatment plant which has usually
received pretreatment at the factories themselves to reduce
the pollutant load. If the sewer system is a combined sewer
then it will also carry urban runoff (stormwater) to the sewage
treatment plant.

4. Biogas production
Biogas is produced as landfill gas (LFG), which is produced by the
breakdown of biodegradable waste inside a landfill due to chemical
reactions and microbes, or as digested gas, produced inside an anaerobic
digester. A biogas plant is the name often given to an anaerobic digester
that treats farm wastes or energy crops. It can be produced using
anaerobic digesters (air-tight tanks with different configurations). These
plants can be fed with energy crops such as maize silage or biodegradable
wastes including sewage sludge and food waste. During the process, the
microorganisms transform biomass waste into biogas (mainly methane and
carbon dioxide) and digestate. The biogas is a renewable energy that can
be used for heating, electricity, and many other operations that use a
reciprocating internal combustion engine, such as GE Jenbacher or
Caterpillar gas engines. Other internal combustion engines such as gas
turbines are suitable for the conversion of biogas into both electricity and
heat. The digestate is the remaining organic matter that was not
transformed into biogas. It can be used as an agricultural fertiliser.
There are two key processes: mesophilic and thermophilic digestion which
is dependent on temperature. In experimental work at University of Alaska
Fairbanks, a 1000-litre digester using psychrophiles harvested from "mud
from a frozen lake in Alaska" has produced 200300 liters of methane per
day, about 20%30% of the output from digesters in warmer climates.

4. Production of organic solvents

Organic solvents are widely used in everyday living. From
disinfectant treatment to removing tough grease stains.
Organic solvents are commonly used in the pharmaceutical
industry as reaction media, in separation and purification of
synthesis products and also for cleaning of equipment. This
presents some aspects of
organic solvents utilization in an active pharmaceutical
ingredient and a drug product manufacturing process. As
residual solvents are not desirable substances in a final product,
different methods for their removal may be
used, provided they fulfill safety criteria. After the drying
process, analyses need to be performed to check if amounts of
solvents used at any step of the production do not exceed
acceptable limits (taken from ICH
Guideline or from pharmacopoeias). Also new solvents like
supercritical fluids or ionic liquids are developed to replace
traditional organic solvents in the pharmaceutical production