Microbiology of Anaerobic Systems
Anaerobic microorganisms include the oldest life-forms on Earth and display the most manifold metabolic pathways and lifestyles that have ever arisen in evolution, for example, the various respiratory and fermentative forms of energy conservation, mechanisms of carbon fixation, or the syntrophic degradation pathways that enable life at the edge of the thermodynamic limit. Anaerobic microbial communities play essential roles in biogeochemical cycles, natural attenuation of contaminated sites, and various biotechnological processes, such as wastewater treatment, anaerobic digestion of organic waste and fermentative formation of valuable products.
The MicAS Group investigates the ecology and physiology of anaerobic microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems with the aim of utilizing the metabolic activities of anaerobic microbes for biotechnological applications as well as elucidating the ecophysiological role of not yet cultured microbes and their significance for ecosystem functions.
In engineered systems such as anaerobic digesters and anaerobic bioreactors, we develop strategies for process optimization. The goals are to identify microbial parameters for process control and to explore novel feedstocks and microbial resources for the production of chemicals and fuels from renewable resources. In environmental systems, we investigate the role of anaerobic microorganisms in biogeochemical cycles and in the degradation of organic pollutants.
- Anaerobic biorefineries for the material and energetic use of biomass and organic residues
- Microbial chain elongation and syngas fermentation for the production of biobased platform chemicals
- Tapping microbial resources by isolating novel strains with interesting fermentation pathways
- Engineered microbial consortia for optimized anaerobic conversion of lignocellulose to medium-chain carboxylates
- Mitigating propionate and butyrate inhibition in anaerobic digestion by promoting direct interspecies electron transfer
- Biomethanation of green hydrogen (Power-to-Gas)
- Anaerobic bioreactors inspired by the gut system of wood-feeding insect larvae for improved valorization of lignocellulosic feedstock
- Biodegradation of anthropogenic micropollutants in wastewater treatment plants (acesulfame K as model compound)
Development of production facilities for volatile organic acids in industrial biogas plants (Acidogenesis Manipulator) - Subproject: Reduction of inhibition effects of propionic and butyric acid during methanation by promoting direct interspecies electron transfer, BMWi (ZIM) FKZ 16KN070166
Sustainable bioeconomy in Brazil: Bioenergy from biogas using various types of waste substrates from the Brazilian bioethanol industry (iNoPa)