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Bachelor / Master Thesis: The Biomass Equation of Corynebacterium glutamicum under different genetic backgrounds

Advertising institute: IBG-1 - Biotechnology
Reference number: D042/2014, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Chemistry

The bulk of the world production of the amino acids L-lysine and L-glutamate is accounted for by the biotechnological usage of the soil bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum. The research activities of the IBG-1 of the Research Center Jülich focus on the molecular biology of this bacterium as well as on the establishment and optimization of biotechnological processes for its usage. A current project investigates the regulation and relevance of reactions of the central carbon metabolism of C. glutamicum (with special focus on anaplerotic reactions) by means of 13C-Metabolic Flux Analysis (13C-MFA). This technique is the state-of-the-art method to determine in vivo reaction rates in prokaryotic cells. Measuring isotope enrichment in intracellular metabolite pools combined with a metabolic network model enables to infer intracellular fluxes. Current models explicitly account for biomass synthesis reactions whose rates are estimated from the biomass composition of the organism in question. However, little light has been shed on the variability of this composition in different strains. The proposed thesis therefore aims at determining the biomass composition of different C. glutamicum mutants by employing a diverse array of analytical techniques.

Project aim

Biomass is generated by cultivating C. glutamicum strains in controlled bioreactor experiments employing a parallel fermentation system. Depending on the marcromolecular component to be analyzed (proteins, lipids etc.) a proper sample preparation protocol has to be applied. Special emphasis shall be given to the amino acid composition which will be analyzed by LC-MS/MS using stable isotope dilution mass spectrometry. For the analysis of the lipid fraction a GC-MS platform is available. A qualitative picture of the biomass composition can be acquired by Infrared Spectroscopy. The student is expected to perform the appropriate data analysis on the experimental data. In case of interest, advanced exploratory data analysis techniques can be applied.

The successful candidate will require

  • Academic achievement in studies of Biotechnology, Biochemistry or a related field.
  • The ability to work reliably, motivated and independently. The applicant shall be able to acquaint himself quickly with new techniques and workflows.
  • Laboratory experience, in particular in the bioreactor cultivation of procaryotic organisms.
  • Some sort of acquaintance or experience in basic analytical chemistry by attendance of appropriate university courses or internships

We offer:

  • An excellent laboratory equipment and state-of-the-art analytical instruments.
  • Good computer infrastructure and all neccessary software for high-quality data evaluation
  • A fruitful and motivating working environment
  • Thorough instruction and supervision
  • In case of successful collaboration the applicant is free to pursue his work in our group as student assistant (German: SHK). In that case the work is scheduled according to the study obligations of the applicant.

Interested and qualified students are invited to submit their application electronically. The documents will comprise the curriculum vitae, the transcript of records and the university entrance certificate. The documents may also be submitted in German.

Prospective start: flexible

Jannick Kappelmann

Phone: +49 (0) 2461-61-2573
IBG-1: Biotechnology
AG Bioprocesses and Bioanalytics
Forschungszentrum Jülich
52425 Jülich