• Open Access

Interplay of metagenomics and in vitro compartmentalization


*E-mail mferrer@icp.csic.es; Tel. (+34) 91 585 4928; Fax (+34) 91 585 4760;

**E-mail aaharoni@bgu.ac.il; Tel. (+972) 8 647 2645; Fax (+972) 8 647 9218.


In recent years, the application of approaches for harvesting DNA from the environment, the so-called, ‘metagenomic approaches’ has proven to be highly successful for the identification, isolation and generation of novel enzymes. Functional screening for the desired catalytic activity is one of the key steps in mining metagenomic libraries, as it does not rely on sequence homology. In this mini-review, we survey high-throughput screening tools, originally developed for directed evolution experiments, which can be readily adapted for the screening of large libraries. In particular, we focus on the use of in vitro compartmentalization (IVC) approaches to address potential advantages and problems the merger of culture-independent and IVC techniques might bring on the mining of enzyme activities in microbial communities.