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Monitoring yeast- lactic acid bacteria in industrial ethanol production: Development of molecular quantification methods
Environmental and economic reasons motivate focused research on biofuel production. The new research programme MicroDrivE – Microbially Derived Energy, offers a series of MSc projects within bio-preservation, enzymatic pre-treatments, ethanol fermentation, bioprocessing of byproducts, biogas production and fertility effects of bioresidues. The projects are supervised by scientists from the Departments of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Chemistry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala. MicroDrivE cooperates with a number of biotech and bioenergy companies. For information on the other MSc projects use the search function ”Fritext” to search for MicroDrive.
Background and goal
In an industrial ethanol fermentation, we found an unusual consortium of the yeast Dekkera bruxellensis and the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus vini. This consortium will be investigated in terms of ethanol productivity, production efficiency and resistance against contaminants, to compare it with the “normal” fermentation organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To do this we need to develop methods for rapid and precise quantification of both microorganisms.
This quantification can be done by Real Time PCR, which is relatively easy and rapid to perform and a sensitive and precise method. We have already established RT PCR-methods to quantify microorganisms in other systems.
To obtain cells with defined growth characteristics, it is necessary to develop cultivation techniques for both D. bruxellensis and L. vini. This can be obtained by cultivating cells from frozen stock cultures in different kinds of precultivations.
The project goal is to establish methods for molecular quantification of Lactobacillus vini and Dekkera bruxellensis by RT PCR, to develop batch cultivation methods for both organisms, and to apply the molecular methods to quantify both organisms in pure and mixed cultures.
• Cultivation of microorganisms, strain conservation
• DNA -isolation, PCR-techniques, Real Time PCR
• Sequence analysis using databases and software tools (BLAST, SRS)
We are looking for a student within the microbiology and biotechnology area interested in future technologies for biofuel production and environmental concerns.
For information on the Department of Microbiology, SLU, visit our Web-site: http://www.mikrob.slu.se
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