Extremophile Metabolism

Research on the metabolism of extremophilic bacteria (Thermotoga, Caldicellulosiruptor) and archaea (Pyrococcus, Thermococcus) has been ongoing for many years, and focused on their sugar catabolism, central metabolic pathways, hydrogen production and archaeal lipid biosynthesis. Currently, our extremophile research is focusing on the study of large protein complexes in Pyrococcus furiosus, involving state-of-the art protein imaging techniques and fluorescent thermostable protein-tags. In addition to the extremophile work, research also includes mesophilic solventogenic and acetogenic Clostridia. These microorganisms have various metabolic features, like the capacity to use C1-gases (CO/CO2) and convert these into valuable products. Others have the ability to form micro-compartments, that enable specific enzymatic conversions, separated from the cytoplasmic metabolism. By making use of novel genome editing tools, we want to engineer the metabolism of these fermentative anaerobes, and apply them for the bio-based production of fuels and chemicals.