CV / Scientific Career
Current Research Interests
Production of medium-chain carboxylates (MCCs) by anaerobic fermentation of lignocellulose with microbial consortia is environmentally friendly, because lignocellulose is an abundant and renewable resource. The two bottlenecks in the production of MCCs from lignocellulose are efficient cellulose hydrolysis and internal production of lactate that is needed as electron donor for microbial chain elongation. Lignocellulose is highly resistant to enzymatic hydrolysis, and so far, no anaerobic lactate producing strain has been discovered, that is able to hydrolyze cellulose efficiently.
One major goal of the ERA CoBioTech project Cell4Chem is to establish and study anaerobic mixed cultures by engineering synthetic consortia consisting of recombinant strains, wildtype strains and enrichment cultures, with different metabolic functions including efficient hydrolyzation of cellulose and hemicellulose, lactate production and microbial chain elongation, which can overcome the bottlenecks and produce MCCs from lignocellulosic biomass in a concerted manner.
The construction of synthetic consortia using strains with known metabolic traits is a promising approach to improve the anaerobic fermentation of lignocellulose to produce valuable platform chemicals.