Microbial activity is the driving force of many biological conversion processes, through which industrially relevant chemicals and energy carriers can be generated in a sustainable manner. These include various fermentation pathways that generate food and feed materials, monomers for the bioplastics or pharmaceutical industry, but the generation of biogas (a renewable source of energy) via anaerobic digestion is just as well important.
In this project, we delve into the mysterious and yet much unknown world of the microbiome found in anaerobic digesters. Our goal is to better understand how bacteria and archaea interact and work together, while converting complex organic matter to the most reduced (CH4) and most oxidized (CO2) forms of organic carbon. More specifically, the project will offer master thesis topics for 2 students, both of whom will be involved in laboratory work, data analysis, testing different scientific hypotheses and potential tasks related to bioinformatics.
The topics are connected, but not dependent on each other. All work is carried out at DTU (Lyngby campus), in close collaboration between the Bioenergy Group of the Department of Environmental Engineering, DTU and the Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Unit of the Department of Biology, University of Padua.
In the first part of the project, our target will be to isolate select syntrophic microorganisms from anaerobic digestion media and cultivate them to identify if they are capable of synergistic behavior.
Then in the second part, the previously isolated microbes will be enriched using microbiological techniques, and analyzed genetically to decipher their active and inactive metabolic pathways.
· Student 1:
o Isolate syntrophic microorganisms from anaerobic media
o Culture isolated species and look for traits of synergism
· Student 2:
o Enrich isolated species
o Test metabolic activity through metagenomics
I samarbejde medDepartment of Biology, University of Padua