NUSBLAT alejandro David
Biotechnology in ciliates: an overview
EUGENIA ELGUERO; B.C. NUDEL; A. D. NUSBLAT
CRITICAL REVIEWS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY
TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC
Since their description and classification in the 19th century, ciliates have played an important role in science, leading to several fundamental discoveries in the areas of cellular and molecular biology. During the last decades, with the emergence of biotechnology, many new developments are also coming to light. In this review, we describe a range of applications in which ciliates have found a niche, ranging from the production of a vast array of proteins, lipids, metabolites and antigens to their use in toxicity screening, biocontrol, bioremediation and biotransformation of substrates into more valuable products. We highlight the benefits and drawbacks of their use in biotechnology, the last developments in large scale culture and state-of-the-art molecular-genetic techniques, as well as the estimations on the exploitation areas with better potential, i.e., the production of complex membrane proteins, and those less interesting or with less chances of success.