Little helpers with great effects: microorganisms produce food, medicine, chemicals and many other valuable products. In industry, they are used as mini factories for developing and improving products or increasing process efficiency. A new biotechnological research project focusses on a particularly robust microbe, Saci - Sulfolobus acidocaldarius to be precise. It is to assist in the utilisation of industrial waste products such as CO2 or glycerol. The ‘HotAcidFACToRY’ project is coordinated by the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and receives 2.2 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.*
Yeast and bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis are among the most widely used microorganisms in industry. Their properties are transferred or modified so that they transform substrates into value-added products or produce enzymes.
However, their range of application is limited: yeast and bacteria cannot survive in high temperatures or low pH, i.e. acidic environments.
Archaea could serve as a promising alternative. ‘Many of these unicellular organisms can adapt to extreme habitats. They possess unique metabolic traits and robust enzymes’, Professor Bettina Siebers explains, ‘and yet their great biotechnological potential has been neglected so far. We would like to change this with our project.’
Professor Siebers is an expert in molecular enzyme technology and biochemistry and coordinates the ‘HotAcidFACTORY’ project supported by her UDE colleagues Markus Kaiser (Biological Chemistry) and Oliver Schmitz (Applied Analytical Chemistry). Researchers of the Universities of Freiburg and Bielefeld and TU Wien are also involved in the project.
The team wants to establish Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, or in short: Saci, as a bio-factory. This organism is a member of the Archaea with optimal growth at temperatures between 75 and 80 °C and a pH between 2 and 3, which is similar to lemon juice. It is not pathogenic and thus does not entail any health risks. Saci is found naturally in acidic hot springs in the Azores or Iceland, for example.
In their laboratories, the scientists aim to design Saci so that it can process industrial waste and transform it into new products such as bio-acids or bio-alcohols. ‘We want to modify Saci to enable CO2 fixation. Thus, the greenhouse gas released during numerous industrial processes is integrated into its metabolism’, Bettina Siebers continues, ‘alternatively, it can be made to live and feed on glycerol. This plant-based waste product is formed during the production of bio-fuels and is of interest for various applications.’
*HotAcidFACTORY (Sulfolobus acidocaldarius as a new thermoacidophile biological factory) is a three-year project, which is funded by the ‘Microbial factories for industrial bioeconomy—new platform organisms for innovative products and sustainable bioprocesses’ (Mikrobielle Biofabriken für die industrielle Bioökonomie – Neuartige Plattformorganismen für innovative Produkte und nachhaltige Bioprozesse) programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The UDE will receive 1.4 million of the total funding of 2.2 million euros.
Note for the editors:
A photomontage (Photo: UDE/Siebers) is available under the following link:
The montage shows the Champagne Pool (Waiotapu geothermal area, New Zealand) and - in the round picture - a collection of Saci cells as they occur there.
Editor: Ulrike Bohnsack, phone 0203/37 9-2429, email@example.com
Translator: Carmela Welge, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Bettina Siebers, Molecular Enzyme Technology and Biochemistry, phone: 0201/18 3-7061, email@example.com
Ulrike Bohnsack | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea
27.03.2020 | Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research
27.03.2020 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.
The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.
Researchers at the University of Zurich show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumour innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.
Stem cells can generate a variety of specific tissues and are increasingly used for clinical applications such as the replacement of bone or cartilage....
An international research team led by Kiel University develops an extremely porous material made of "white graphene" for new laser light applications
With a porosity of 99.99 %, it consists practically only of air, making it one of the lightest materials in the world: Aerobornitride is the name of the...
Researchers at Graz University of Technology have developed a framework by which wireless devices with different radio technologies will be able to communicate directly with each other.
Whether networked vehicles that warn of traffic jams in real time, household appliances that can be operated remotely, "wearables" that monitor physical...
Terahertz waves are becoming ever more important in science and technology. They enable us to unravel the properties of future materials, test the quality of...
26.03.2020 | Event News
23.03.2020 | Event News
03.03.2020 | Event News
27.03.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.03.2020 | Life Sciences
27.03.2020 | Life Sciences