Insects as Sources of Novel Bioprocessing Acitvities
The insects are a large and diverse group of eukaryotes that have successfully colonised most of the environmental niches on the Earth. In doing so, they have evolved physical tolerances that adapt them to various extremes of moisture availability, temperature stress, nutritional balance and so on. It has long been assumed that these tolerances imply the existence of a corresponding breadth of molecular pathways and capabilities that derive either from the insects themselves, from their microbial associates, or from a combination of both; investigations using methodologies of functional genomics and environmental genomics are now providing increasing evidence to support this view. As yet, these metabolic strategies and capabilities remain both poorly understood, and essentially untapped for human purposes. Nevertheless, there are strong grounds for believing that in the future they will provide means to significantly expand our capabilities in the field of bioprocessing.