The tasks of both discovering new microbial compounds and improving the synthesis of known ones have become more and more challenging. Early work on isolation and improvement relied on a 'blunderbus' approach yet, due to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the individuals involved, resulted in the establishment of a wide range of highly successful processes. The rational improvement programmes developed in the amino-acid industry pointed the way to the adoption of such approaches for both secondary metabolite discovery and improvement and the development of miniaturized screening sytems allowed the industry to take full advantage of robotic systems to revolutionize screening throughput. However, it is the gigantic developments in molecular biology which have allowed the industry to enter the next stage in its evolution. Recombinant DNA technology has enabled the production of heterologous products and has built on the achievements of directed selection to increase yields of conventional products still further.
Was this article helpful?