Biodiversity: Discovering Revolutionary Enzyme Products from Nature

Microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, are the world's most abundant and varied organisms and can be found in almost every ecosystem. Through generations of natural selection, microbes living in diverse environments have developed extremely broad characteristics that give them the ability to survive in extreme temperatures and to thrive in a variety of acidic, caustic, salty or low salt environments. This ability produces highly diverse genetic material in the microbial world.

In the quest to discover novel enzyme products, Verenium, has tapped into this vast genetic resource. Our teams have collected small samples such as soil and water from environments as varied as volcanoes and deep sea hydrothermal vents to rain forests and soda lakes and from deserts to bitterly cold tundra these samples are the source material for potential products for industrial processes. Through the use of proprietary technologies, we extract microbial DNA directly from collected samples to avoid the slow and often impossible task of culturing individual microbes in a laboratory. With high-throughput screening, we then mine our collection of billions of microbial genes in search of unique enzymes. Once identified, these enzymes are optimized for targeted application using Verenium's DirectEvolution® technology.

High-Throughput Culturing Platform (HTC)
HTC provides access to previously uncultured microorganisms by creating in vitro environments similar to those encountered in natural habitats. The specific technology and an extensive report on its findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using HTC, novel isolates can be cultured and assayed for biological activities of interests in a high-throughput manner.

Platforms Capable of Screening One Billion Samples Per Day
Verenium's approach for discovering novel enzymes generates huge collections of microbial genes, called gene libraries. Likewise, Verenium's laboratory evolution service, used for the optimization of enzymes and other proteins, also generates large and potentially valuable gene libraries. Verenium has developed and patented an array of automated, ultra high-throughput screening technologies to mine these large libraries for novel biomolecules. These systems are designed to screen for biological activity, known as expression-based screening, and for targeted DNA sequences of interest, known as sequence-based screening. One of Verenium's key technologies include the GigaMatrix® ultra high-throughput screening platform.

GigaMatrix® Ultra High-Throughput Screening Platform
Verenium's proprietary GigaMatrix® ultra high-throughput screening platform is capable of screening one billion clones per day through the use of state-of-the-art robotics and high- density sample plates. Typical screening systems use disposable 96-, 384-, or 1536-well plates within a standard 3.3 x 5 footprint. GigaMatrix® plates, using the same footprint, contain up to a million wells per plate, each well the diameter of a human hair. The increased wells greatly enhance Verenium's ability to identify novel enzymes and proteins from large and complex gene libraries. In addition, the GigaMatrix® plates are reusable and require only miniscule volumes of reagents, making ultra high-throughput screening highly cost-effective.

Verenium, through bioprospecting, taps into the vast genetic resources of the microbial world by venturing into varied ecosystems, such as volcanoes and deep sea vents.