Dr. Heike Sträuber


Dr. Heike Sträuber

Department of Environmental Microbiology
Working Group Microbiology of Anaerobic Systems
Helmholtz Centre for
Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

in cooperation with

Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ)
Torgauer Str. 116, 04347 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 2434-563

Heike Sträuber

CV / Scientific Career

since 2015

Senior scientist in the Research Group Microbiology of Anaerobic Systems at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Environmental Microbiology

2010 – 2014

Senior scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ,
Department of Bioenergy

2007 – 2009

Postdoc in the Research Group Flow Cytometry at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ


Postdoc at the SIAB – Saxon Institute for Applied Biotechnology

2002 – 2003

Postdoc in the Research Group Microbial Physiology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ

1997 – 2002

PhD student in the Research Group Microbial Physiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and University of Leipzig

1992 – 1997

MSc Biochemistry, University of Leipzig

Research interests

My work focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of microbial relationships and activities in the anaerobic fermentation process. This aims at a higher efficiency of processes for the production of carboxylate platform chemicals (e.g. medium-chain fatty acids as well as branched and unbranched VFA) or methane from biomass. The effects of secondary plant metabolites and additives like trace elements are evaluated. Besides CSTRs, mainly solid-state fermentation systems (leach-bed reactors) are used for the anaerobic fermentation of plant biomass (dedicated crops) or waste. Metabolic fluxes between microorganisms and behaviour of key players are of special interest. Process parameters are correlated with microbiological data from molecularbiological analyses (mainly T-RFLP and 454-pyrosequencing) using multivariate statistical tools.

In the last years, the CAPRAFERM® process was developed. This is an anaerobic fermentation process for production of caproic and caprylic acid from complex biomass. In the CapAcidy project, the CAPRAFERM® process will be further developed in the sense of a biorefinery. DBFZ, University of Leipzig and large industries are cooperating project partners. They develop the downstream processing and product refining and test the chemicals in specific end products. Furthermore, it will be investigated how existing biogas plants can be refitted to biorefineries. This will give biogas plant owners alternative sources of income. The CapAcidy project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Selected publications


Sträuber, H., Müller, S. (2010): Viability states of bacteria – specific mechanisms of selected probes. Cytometry Part A 77A:623-634.

Book chapters:

Liebetrau J, Weinrich S, Sträuber H, Kretzschmar J (2017): Anaerobic fermentation of organic material – Biological processes and their control parameters. In: Meyers, RA, Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology. Springer New York, S. 1-30, doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2493-6_962-1

Liebetrau J, Sträuber H, Kretzschmar J, Denysenko V, Nelles M (2017): Anaerobic Digestion. In: T. Scheper, S. Belkin, T. Bley, J. Bohlmann, M.B. Gu, W.-S. Hu, B. Mattiasson, J. Nielsen, H. Seitz, R. Ulber, A.-P. Zeng, J.-J. Zhong, W. Zhou (Hrsg.), Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology. doi: 10.1007/10_2016_67, Springer International Publishing AG, S. 1-19

Dieckmann C, Edelmann W, Kaltschmitt M, Liebetrau J, Oldenburg S, Ritzkowski M, Scholwin F, Sträuber H, Weinreich S (2016): Biogaserzeugung und –nutzung. In: M. Kaltschmitt, H. Hartmann, H. Hofbauer (Hrsg.), Energie aus Biomasse: Grundlagen, Techniken und Verfahren. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-47438-9_19, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, S. 1609-1635

Research articles:

Jahnke L, Weinrich S, Leite AF, Sträuber H, Radetski CM, Nikolausz M, Nelles M, Stinner W (2018) Year-round biogas production in sugarcane biorefineries: Process stability, optimization and performance of a two-stage reactor system. Energy Convers Manag, accepted.

Sträuber H, Bühligen F, Kleinsteuber S, Dittrich-Zechendorf M (2018) Carboxylic acids production from ensiled crops in anaerobic solid-state fermentation – trace elements as pH controlling agents support microbial chain elongation with lactic acid. Eng Life Sci, doi: 10.1002/elsc.201700186.

Urban C, Xu J, Sträuber H, dos Santos Dantas TR, Mühlenberg J, Härtig C, Angenent LT, Harnisch F (2017) Production of drop-in fuel from biomass at high selectivity by combined microbial and electrochemical conversion. Energ Environ Sci 10:2231-2244, doi: 10.1039/C7EE01303E.

Popp D, Plugge C, Kleinsteuber S, Harms H, Sträuber H (2017) Inhibitory effect of coumarin on syntrophic fatty acid oxidizing and methanogenic cultures and biogas reactor microbiomes. Appl Environ Microbiol 83:e00438-17, doi: 10.1128/AEM.00438-17.

Popp D, von Gillhaussen P, Weidlich EWA, Sträuber H, Harms H, Temperton VM (2017) Methane yield of biomass from extensive grassland is affected by compositional changes induced by order of arrival. GCB Bioenergy 9(10):1555-1562, doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12441.

Wintsche B, Glaser K, Sträuber H, Centler F, Liebetrau J, Harms H, Kleinsteuber S (2016): Trace elements induce predominance among methanogenic activity in anaerobic digestion. Front Microbiol. 7:2034, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.02034.

Popp D, Harms H, Sträuber H (2016): The alkaloid gramine in the anaerobic digestion process – inhibition and adaptation of the methanogenesis. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 100(16):7311-7322.

Hofmann J, Peltri G, Sträuber H, Müller L, Schumacher B, Müller U, Liebetrau J (2016): Statistical interpretation of semi-continuous anaerobic digestion experiments on the laboratory scale. Chemical Engineering & Technology 39(4):643-651.

Sträuber H, Lucas R, Kleinsteuber S (2016): Metabolic and Microbial Community Dynamics during the Anaerobic Digestion of Maize Silage in a Two-Phase Process. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 100(1):479-491.

Janke L, Leite A, Batista K, Weinrich S, Sträuber H, Nikolausz M, Nelles M, Stinner W (2016): Optimization of hydrolysis and volatile fatty acids production from sugarcane filter cake: Effects of urea supplementation and sodium hydroxide pretreatment. Bioresource Technology 199:235-244.

Popp D, Schrader S, Kleinsteuber S, Harms H, Sträuber H (2015): Biogas production from coumarin-rich plants – impact of coumarin on process parameters and microbial community. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91(9):fiv103.

Sträuber H, Bühligen F, Kleinsteuber S, Nikolausz M, Porsch K (2015): Improved Anaerobic Fermentation of Wheat Straw by Alkaline Pre-Treatment and Addition of Alkali-Tolerant Microorganisms. Bioengineering 2(2):66-93.

Nikolausz M, Walter RFH, Sträuber H, Liebetrau J, Schmidt T, Kleinsteuber S, Bratfisch F, Günther U, Richnow HH (2013): Evaluation of Stable Isotope Fingerprinting Techniques for the Assessment of the Predominant Methanogenic Pathways in Anaerobic Digesters. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 97(5):2251-2262.

Sträuber H, Schröder M, Kleinsteuber S (2012): Metabolic and Microbial Community Dynamics during the Hydrolytic and Acidogenic Fermentation in a Leach-Bed Process. Energy, Sustainability and Society 2(1):13-23.

Sträuber H, Hübschmann T, Jehmlich N, Schmidt F, von Bergen M, Harms H, Müller S (2010): NBDT (3-(N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-3-toluene) - A Novel Fluorescent Dye for Studying Mechanisms of Toluene Uptake into Vital Bacteria. Cytometry Part A 77A(2):113-120.

Heine F, Stahl F, Sträuber H, Wiacek C, Benndorf D, Repenning C, Schmidt F, Schepe, T, von Bergen M, Harms H, Müller S (2009): Prediction of Flocculation Ability of Brewing Yeast Inoculates by Flow Cytometry, Proteome Analysis, and mRNA Profiling. Cytometry Part A 75A(2):140-147.

Sträuber H, Müller RH, Babel W (2003): Evidence of Cytochrome P450-catalyzed etherolytic cleavage of phenoxybutyrate herbicides in Rhodococcus erythropolis K2-3. Biodegradation 14:41-50.

Müller S, Sträuber H, Lösche A, Babel W (2002): Population analysis of a binary bacterial culture by multi-parametric flow cytometry. Journal of Biotechnology 97:163-176.

Müller S, Lösche A, Mertingk H, Beisker W, Babel W (2000): Flow cytometric monitoring of Rhodococcus erythropolis and Ochrobactrum anthropi in a mixed culture. Acta Biotechnologica 20:219-233.

Mertingk H, Müller RH, Babel W (1998): Etherolytic cleavage of 4-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)butyric acid and 4-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)butyric acid by species of Rhodococcus and Aureobacterium isolated from an alkaline environment. Journal of Basic Microbiology 38:257-267.