Indexed on: 20 Apr '12Published on: 20 Apr '12Published in: Polar biology
Microorganisms in polar areas may have important ecological roles in biogeochemical cycles and the food chain. They are adapted to polar environments by means of special physiological adaptation mechanisms that include cold-adapted enzymes and cryoprotectants such as exopolysaccharides. Culture collections for polar microorganisms can provide research resources for ecological and physiological studies. The Polar and Alpine Microbial Collection (PAMC) is a specialized culture collection for maintenance and distribution of polar and alpine microorganisms. A database system was developed to share important data fields with DarwinCore2 and Ocean Biogeographic Information System database schemas. Approximately 1,500 out of 5,500 strains maintained in PAMC have been identified and belonged primarily to the phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. Many of the microbial strains can grow at low temperature and produce proteases, lipases, and/or exopolysaccharides. PAMC provides search tools based on keywords such as taxonomy, geographical origin, habitat, and physiological characteristics. Biological materials and information provided by PAMC will be important resources for ecological and physiological studies on polar and alpine microorganisms.