Introduction to high-pressure bioscience and biotechnology.
The manipulation of biological materials using elevated pressure is providing an ever-growing number of opportunities in both the applied and basic sciences. Manipulation of pressure is a useful parameter for enhancing food quality and shelf life; inactivating microbes, viruses, prions, and deleterious enzymes; affecting recombinant protein production; controlling DNA hybridization; and improving vaccine preparation. In biophysics and biochemistry, pressure is used as a tool to study intermediates in protein folding, enzyme kinetics, macromolecular interactions, amyloid fibrous protein aggregation, lipid structural changes, and to discern the role of solvation and void volumes in these processes. Biologists, including many microbiologists, examine the utility and basis of pressure inactivation of cells and cellular processes, and conversely seek to discover how deep-sea life has evolved a preference for high-pressure environments. This introduction and the papers that follow provide information on the nature and promise of the highly interdisciplinary field of high-pressure bioscience and biotechnology (HPBB).