Alcohol metabolism in sulfate reducing bacteria

Studying the metabolism of methanol and other alcohols in sulfate reducing bacteria using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches.


Methanol is the smallest compound in the class of alcohols. Besides an immense annual chemical production, it is abundant in nature as result from the degradation of plant material or interaction of CO2 and H2 in deep subsurface environments. In nature it serves as substrate for a multitude of microorganisms. While it is well studied in aerobic organisms, as well as in anaerobic methanogens and acetogens, it is yet poorly understood in anaerobic sulfate reducers. Recently it has been shown to be quite interesting.

Aim of the project

This project aims to investigate the methanol metabolism of sulphate reducing bacteria. This is done with a combination of genetic analysis of available genomes regarding the enzymes involved in methanol utilization and several co-culture experiments investigating the competition or cooperation of sulfate reducers with other anaerobic microorganisms. This will be supported by transcriptomic analysis of underlying genes, some of which also will be subject to protein purification and crystallization.

Alcohol metabolism in sulfate reducing bacteria

Techniques involved

This project focuses on investigating of the biochemical background of methanol metabolism in anaerobe environments. Varying concentrations of substrates and important co-factors.

In reactor cultivations and flask cultivations the stress mechanisms under non-stressed and maximum tolerated concentrations will be assessed. Subsequently gene expression will be studied via transcriptomics and proteomics. Furthermore the dissimilatory nitrate reduction pathway of this organism is also studied using transcriptomics and potentially anaerobic enzyme purification and characterisation.

Key techniques:

  • Anaerobic microbiology
  • Reactor operations
  • Transcriptomics
  • Genomics
  • Proteomics


Would you like to work on this project? Please do not hesitate to contact Lukas Friedeheim.