Sustainable Microbial Applications

In the Sustainable Microbial Applications group, we focus on enabling the development of Sustainable microbial solutions. Currently the two main research areas in the group are the development of efficient molecular tools for a variety of established and non-traditional bacteria, and the use of these tools to develop efficient cell factories for the production of bulk-chemicals from sustainable resources.

What we try to achieve
The group focus on molecular biology of bacteria for the production of biochemicals from renewable resources, with a particular focus on sustainable substrates such as lignocellulosic biomass waste and CO2 derivatives. The group works extensively on developing broad-host range and more species-specific molecular tools for speeding up strain engineering for a variety of already established and novel bacterial cell factories (new isolates either directly from nature or from strain repositories).

Why our research is important and how it can be used
Throughout time, researchers have been isolating a vast number of bacterial species, each with unique phenotypic traits. However, in order to be able to fully harness the great diversity of microbial life for sustainable solutions, we need to be able to engineer them. Most bacterial phyla have at least one representative, where a transformation protocol has been established, nevertheless, genetic engineering tools have mainly been developed for a few model organisms. In the Sustainable Microbial Applications group, we develop engineering tools for non-traditionally used bacteria in order to be able to domesticate them for various sustainable solutions. We currently use the developed engineering tools to establish efficient microbial cell-factories for the production of value-added chemicals from sustainable resources (incl. lignocellulosic biomass waste). 

How we achieve our aims – methods, tools, technologies
We use an interdisciplinary approach and collaborate with several researchers within different fields. We improve molecular tools to speed up strain engineering for the current model and non-model organisms we work with. We further isolate, sequence, characterize, and domesticate novel bacteria. This includes the development of a molecular toolbox incl. efficient transformation protocols, constitutive and inducible promoters (incl. broad-host range), testing of different deletion and integration systems (Lambda Red recombineering, CRISPR, and integrases) as well as the development of genome-scale metabolic models. We presently use these tools to engineer efficient bacterial cell-factories for the production of bulk-chemicals from sustainable substrates, but are always on the lookout for venturing into yet unexplored sustainable microbial applications, which our engineering tools makes conceivable.

The group is headed by Senior Researcher Sheila Ingemann Jensen and is located at the Lyngby Campus, Building 220