Colloquium: Juniorprof. M. Agler-Rosenbaum (RWTH Aachen)
- 17.Sep.2014 16:30
Tailoring microorganisms and their ecology for bioelectrochemical applications
Miriam A. Rosenbaum
Institute of Applied Microbiology, RWTH Aachen University
Over the past decade, microbial electrochemical technologies, which were developed from physiological phenomena, have evolved from a rush of initiatives for sustainable bioelectricity generation to a multitude of specialized applications in very different areas. Advances in genetic engineering of non-model microorganisms and the discovery of cathodic microbial synthesis for bioproduction from renewable electricity open up completely new possibilities for bioelectrochemical synthesis and transformations. Thereby, bioelectrochemical technologies show an exciting transition from mainly environmentally motivated applications to biotechnological applications with a significantly higher commercial attraction.
The focus of research in our lab is on biocatalytic strategies for specific cathodic electrotransformations and the investigation and adaptation of defined microbial co-cultures for advanced biocatalytic processes. Much of our work is embedded within a large research cluster that investigates and develops methodologies for tailor-made fuels from biomass production and combustion (DFG-funded cluster of excellence “Tailor-made fuels from biomass”). Thereby, biofuel candidates are produced by reduction of biomass intermediates such as itaconic or levulinic acid. Our approach is based on microbial electroreduction of these biomass intermediates to fuel components directly in the dilute fermentation broth, avoiding costly purification steps.
Specific research topics within this framework include i) the establishment of a defined microbial co-culture of a cellulose hydrolyzing fungi with an itaconic acid producer for one-step production of itaconic acid from cellulose, ii) the genetic and evolutionary engineering of the homoacetogenic Clostridium ljungdahlii as cathodic biocatalyst for the subsequent reduction of itaconic acid to fuel components, and iii) the screening for new potential biocatalysts for microbial electrotransformations. Further research efforts include the investigation and utilization of phenazine-mediator based electron transfer with Pseudomonas species for biotechnological applications. My presentation will provide a brief overview and some insight into these ongoing research projects.
The Centre for Microbial Biotechnology i.e. the Systemic Microbiology and Systems Biotechnology of the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH as well as the Institutes of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Enzyme Technology at the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf frequently organize seminars with guest lecturers. The lectures take place (normally) on Wednesday at 16:30 h s.t. in the library of the IBG-1, building 15.4, 2nd floor, room 302.