Mining useful microbes not in textbooks

CANCELLED! CEES Extra seminar by Marc Strous  

NB: The seminar is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.



Biology generally proceeds from experimental observations. For example, when nitrogen removal from wastewater started in the nineteen seventies, engineers were surprised when biologists explained them that to convert ammonia into nitrogen, they should first oxidize it all the way to nitrate. Direct oxidation of ammonia was impossible - because it had never been observed. Faced with the astounding microbial biodiversity that lays in front of us, it does no longer make sense to define the possible and the impossible only by what has been observed. This point is illustrated by the discoveries of "new" microbial activities such as anaerobic ammonium oxidation and methanotrophy coupled to denitrication. Such discoveries were driven by applied interests and led to the discoveries of unique microbes with interesting biological properties. In the presentation the experimental approach that led to these discoveries is will be generalized and its future prospects will be discussed.

Marc Strous
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
Center for Biotechnology, University of Bielefeld 

Published Feb. 3, 2012 3:45 PM