8.02 Microbial Electrosynthesis for Bioproduction of Chemicals (MEB-Chem)

Research

Industrial microbiology offers the potential of replacing current petroleum based chemical feedstocks with chemicals made from renewable resources using fermentation. However, the maximum yields of fermentation products can be limited by the available redox power in the microbial cell. This problem can be overcome by microbial electrosynthesis. In this new scientific field, redox power is provided to the cells in the form of electricity, while cheap and highly oxicised substrates are converted to product. Microbial electrosynthesis is a very promising new approach, but fundamental understanding of the electron transfer to the microbial cells and the optimization thereof is necessary. We propose to address this issue for the industrial microbe Pseudomonas putida during the production of shikimate derived aromatic compounds (e.g. para-hydroxybenzoic acid, cis-cis muconic acid) from waste acetate. We will explore the underlaying mechanisms using systems biology, optimize the microbe via metabolic engineering and develop a scalable bioprocess based on reaction engineering analyses and design of electrochemical bioreactor system configurations.

Publications

Hintermayer, Sarah; Yu, Shiqin; Krömer, Jens O., Weuster-Botz, Dirk (2016) Anodic respiration of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 in a stirred-tank bioreactor, Biochemical Engineering Journal, doi: 10.1016/j.bej.2016.07.020 

Hintermayer, Sarah, Weuster-Botz, Dirk (2017) Experimental validation of in silico estimated biomass yields of Pseudomonas putida KT2440, Biotechnol. J. doi: 10.1002/biot.201600720

Team

Project team leader

Dr. Kathrin Castiglione
Biochemical Engineering

Alumna

Dr. rer. nat. Sarah Hintermayer
Biochemical Engineering

Principal investigator

Professor Dirk Weuster-Botz
Biochemical Engineering

Principal investigator

Dr. Jens Krömer
University of Queensland, Advanced Water Management Center