Description of Research Group

The research group study marine bacteria and their ability to produce polyhydroxyalkonates (PHAs), a fully biodegradable polyester known as bioplastic. Bioplastics can replace petroleum-based plastics in many applications. PHAs accumulate as intracellular carbon and energy storages when bacteria grow in an environment with nutrient imbalance (high carbon/nitrogen ratio). The monomeric building blocks in the PHA polymers determine the physical properties of the bioplastics and depend upon carbon sources, the bacteria’s metabolism and PHA synthetic pathways. The main goal is to develop bacterial strains for efficient production of fully biodegradable bioplastics based on abundant and largely unexploited biomass.

The research activities includes: 1) Screening of bacteria for PHA production. 2) Optimization of growth conditions and medium for efficient PHA production. 3) PHA quantification and characterization. 4) Production and characterization of the PHA-synthesizing enzymes. 5) Genome and transcriptome sequencing and of promising candidates. 6) Genetic engineering of promising candidates to further maximise the PHA output.

Technology, expertise and equipment

Standard microbiological techniques, cloning and recombinant expression of proteins, characterization of enzyme activity, tools and expertise in performing gene knock-in/out in bacteria. DNA and RNA analyses.