Ross Island Antarctica - the source of much of our collection.

Wright Valley

Wright Valley - one of the unique Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

Erebus crater

The crater of Mt Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica. 

New Zealand and its jurisdictions, which include areas of Antarctica, represent unparalleled diversity in the range of environmental climates available for the evolution of unique microbial species. These extreme environments include the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, boiling mud pools, geothermal vents and acid fumaroles.

Painstaking exploration of these extreme environments by dozens of scientists over 20 years has created a proprietary collection of more than 2000 extremophile organisms which include cold temperature fungi of three classes, and a diverse selection of extremely thermophilic Archaea and Bacteria. All are cultured and many of these are well characterised.

The extreme environments in which these microorganisms have evolved often reflect the conditions required for many life science research, biotechnology and industrial applications. This creates a fertile source of novel enzymes of scientific interest and significant commercial value. The temperatures at which our organisms were found range from 0ºC to 106ºC and pH 2.8 to 10.9.

ZCC makeup


The genes encoding many of the enzyme activities observed have been cloned and sequenced and found to be unique.

The ZyGEM team has many years of experience working with the cultures and will continue to form partnerships to further mine the collection for enzymes with scientific and economic value. We are shortly to commence extensive genome sequencing of this resource. If you are interested in collaborative ventures, please contact us.