Redox cofactor regeneration in microorganisms

This research project is a collaboration with the Bacterial Genetics group; the work is executed in the Laboratory of VPP, Turbotron: Bornse weilanden 9, Wageningen


Depleting fossil oil reserves, fluctuating oil prices and the impact of atmospheric CO2 on global warming call for alternative renewable sources for the production of energyand chemical building blocks. For the latter, biomass is the only valid option. Converting biomass into wanted products, can be achieved by microbial fermentation, which is attractive since a multitude of biochemical reactions can be catalysed simultaneously by one organism in one reactor. However, the productivities and yields of many fermentation processes are not yet ideal. This is linked to the use of oxygen. Oxygen dissolves poorly in the fermentation broth and the oxygen transfer rate, or the cooling capacity necessary to dissipate the heat that is generated by oxygen consumption are often limiting. Moreover, the high ATP yield due to aerobic respiration leads to a high biomass production, deviating substrate away from product formation. Therefore anaerobic fermentation processes are the method of choice for chemical building block production. For the redox reactions in a bioconversion, redox cofactors are necessary, which have to be regenerated for continued product formation. Oxygen is often used for this purpose, but under anaerobic conditions oxygen is not available and alternative mechanisms have to be applied.This project focuses on facilitating anaerobic redox cofactor regeneration to achieve higher productivities and yields. Are you interested to help invent the breakthrough technology that is needed to make the chemical industry more sustainable? With this project you can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using microbial biotechnology.

Thesis content

Different project lines are possible, including several of the following techniques:

  • Microbial cell culture
  • Fermentations
  • Cloning
  • Gene knock-out/overexpression
  • PCR
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Carbon flux analysis
  • Redox balance analysis

Specially suitable for students from Microbiology or Biotechnology with an interest in metabolic engineering. Also suitable for students from Cell Biology

Starting date

By mutual agreement

More information

For further information please send an email to Ruud Weusthuis, Valorisation of Plant Production chains group, located at the Turbotron: Bornse weilanden 9, Wageningen. Tel: 0317-484002