One-carbon (C1) Metabolism aims to study the metabolic pathways of the microbes and microbial communities that convert C1 molecules – such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and methanol – and their application to produce high-value chemical building blocks.
One current area of research focuses on the conversion of syngas, a gaseous mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, produced from the gasification of carbonaceous materials. Microbial conversion of syngas to chemical building blocks (e.g. organic acids and alcohols) is a sustainable and efficient way of processing renewable yet recalcitrant materials, such as waste and lignocellulosic biomass. C1 compounds can be converted into higher carbon molecules by single microorganisms or by synthetic microbial consortia. Their physiology is being studied to gain insight into how to increase biocatalysis.