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Novel Anaerobes Report Summary

Project ID: 323009
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - NOVEL ANAEROBES (Novel anaerobes for a biobased economy)

The aim of this project is to study novel anaerobic microorganisms with potential for biotechnological applications, more specifically for the recovery of added-value products from waste streams and biomass. By mining different environments (such as digester sludges, sediments, deep-subsurface waters) we could isolate several novel anaerobes with interesting properties for possible industrial application. One interesting anaerobe is Ercella succinigenes, the first isolate within this project and named after the European Research Council (ERC). This microorganism can convert sugar-based compounds to succinate – an important building block in the chemical industry. In the course of the project several other anaerobes were isolated with diverse characteristics. Some are phylogenetically novel (new genus) and/or able to produce added-value compounds such as succinate, ethanol or fatty-acids. Other anaerobes can grow at extremely low pH and produce sulfide that can be used for the precipitation and recovery of valuable metals from mining wastewaters. Finally, there is a sulfate reducer that uses sulfonates, and facultative anaerobic bacteria closely related to Pseudomonas species that seem to play an important role in anaerobic biotransformation of lipids and long-chain fatty acids. We dedicated part of our research to Trichococcus species. These are fast growing anaerobes, very flexible in terms of environmental conditions – for example, they can grow optimally at 35 °C, but are also able to grow close to 0 °C. One Trichococcus strain, previously isolated in our lab that, is able to convert glycerol to produce 1,3-propanediol, an important building-block molecule.

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