Title: The ARS Culture Collection and Developments in Biotechnology Author
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The ARS Culture Collection (NRRL) has played a prominent role in the development of biotechnology since its founding in 1940 when the Northern Regional Research Laboratory opened. Early discoveries included selection of production strains for penicillin, dextran blood extender, xanthan gum and the vitamin riboflavin. Later work included discovery of the first yeast to ferment D-xylose to ethanol, which gave impetus to production of liquid fuel from biomass. In recent years, extensive gene sequencing has lead to the development of DNA sequence databases (barcodes) for essentially all known species of yeasts, the mold genera Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium, and numerous bacteria including Listeria, Bacillus, and the actinobacteria. These databases have markedly benefitted studies in food safety and biotechnology and are used by laboratories worldwide. In addition to rapid, accurate species identification, the DNA sequences can be used to develop phylogenetic trees, leading to the possibility of predicting genetic and metabolic properties for individual species. Examples to be presented included detection of sophorolipid surfactant production by members of the Starmerella yeast clade and modification of T-2 toxin from Fusarium by species of yeasts in the Trichomonascus/Blastobotrys clade.