Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

IBG-1: Systemic Microbiology | Forschungszentrum Jülich


Prof. Dr. Michael Bott

Prof. Dr. Jan Marienhagen
Prof. Dr. Nick Wierckx

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Research topics and profile (related to bioeconomy)

The overall aim of research within the department „Systemic Microbiology“ of IBG-1: Biotechnology at Forschungszentrum Jülich is the development of microorganisms as biocatalysts for the production of industrially or pharmaceutically relevant products from renewable carbon sources, such as amino acids, organic acids, secondary metabolites, and proteins. For this purpose, metabolic engineering is applied, which requires detailed knowledge of metabolism and its regulation in the microbial cell factories used. The fundamental research therefore is directed towards a systemic understanding of selected microorganisms which serve as production platforms in industrial biotechnology, such as Corynebacterium glutamicum, Gluconobacter oxydans oder Escherichia coli. To reach this aim, genome-based bioanalytical methods such as next generation sequencing, proteomics, and metabolomics are used, as well as further methods established at IBG-1 such as single-cell analysis using microfluidic cultivation devices. In combination with microbiological, biochemical and molecular genetic methods comprehensive knowledge on the physiology, metabolism and regulation is obtained in this way. This knowledge forms the basis to optimize not only selected biosynthetic pathways, but the entire cell for the production of metabolites and proteins. To speed up microbial strain development, novel highthroughput screening methods are developed. They involve single-cell metabolite sensors based on transcriptional regulators, fluorescent reporter proteins, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), and comparative genome analysis. Furthermore, heterologous or artificial metabolic pathways (“synthetic biology”) are established in our platform organisms in order to make new substrates and new products accessible.

Contributions to BioSC

The studies in the department „Systemic Microbiology“ of IBG-1 contribute to the research area „Microbial and molecular transformation“ of the BioSC. We were involved in or coordinated the following BioSC projects:

  • BOOST-Fund-Projekt GLUFACT: Gluconobacter-Factory: Strains and processes for stereoselective oxidative conversion of renewable carbon sources to industrial products
  • BOOST-Fund-Projekt PNP-EXPRESS: Discovery and microbial production of natural products from plants (coordinated)
  • BOOST-Fund-Projekt C4PSH: C4 Plant selective herbicides: a new approach to combat C4 weeds in arable crops
  • BOOST-Fund-Projekt BIOExpresSPro: Research and technology platform for the identfication production, secretion and optimization of enzymes
  • SEED-Fund-Projekt MetEvo: Metabolic evolution of microorganisms for the efficient utilization of carbon sources
  • Focus Lab HyImPact: Hybrid processes for Important Precursor and Active pharmaceutical ingredients