The ocean is teaming with sunken treasure and for some treasure hunters the sand itself is the target. In this article in Microbiology Today, Jem Stach tells how novel actinomycetes on the seabed could be a source of much-needed novel antimicrobial drugs:
For most, the search for sunken treasure evokes images of glistening gold discovered when a diver’s hand wafts away the sand. However, for another kind of treasure hunter, the bioprospector, the sand itself is the target, brought from the depths of the sea, to the laboratory bench. In this case, the bioprospector is interested in marine microbes and their potential to produce antimicrobial compounds. With global sales of these life-saving products set to exceed $100 billion by 2015, such micro-organisms could be worth more than their weight in gold.