Microorganisms are living unicellular organisms, either eukaryotic (fungi, yeast, microalgae) or prokaryotic (bacteria, archaebacteria), which are an impressively source of genetic biodiversity.
10 millions species are described, while a vast majority (up to 1000 billions) remains to be discovered – much larger than animal or plant communities (respectively 8 millions and 300 000 species).
Microorganisms naturally develop innovative ways to live under a very wide diversity of conditions. They can stand extreme pressure or extreme temperature, resist in acid or basic environments, and develop tolerance to aggressive pollutants (heavy metals, hydrocarbons, sulfurs, …).
Furthermore, they can use diverse carbon and energy sources to grow (sugars, lipids, proteins, CO, CO2…).
Microbes have been able to develop a series of internal metabolic mechanisms that can now be put to good use in many industrial applications.