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Förslaget inkom 2007-03-12

Enzyme mining from biogas sludge - A metaproteome approach

MicroDrivE – MSc Project School
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
Biogas production is an efficient way of refining organic waste into combustible fuel. Nearly any organic matter can be used as a substrate for biogas production and it is astonishing to see how quickly different materials are degraded in this process. Thus, the microbial enzymes in action are apparently very efficient. Therefore, microbial biogas communities also serve as valuable sources for mining for new enzymes with superior properties and/or new useful activities to be used in other biotechnical applications. We want to screen for potentially useful enzymes active in the biogas process during degradation of different starting materials, like sugar beet pulp, distillers spent grain. We will search for desired activities, e.g. cellulase, and identify which players are in action by performing peptide sequencing and comparing the results with sequence databases. Particularly interesting enzymes will be further analyzed in terms of enzymatic properties. Some enzymes may be present in sufficient quantities to be isolated directly from the sludge, while others require isolation of the gene for recombinant expression. Some enzymes may be chosen for subsequent structural studies with x-ray crystallography. The content of the MSc project will depend on the current needs of the research program as well as your interest in techniques. Methods may range from PCR techniques, peptide sequencing, bioinformatics and enzyme activity measurments, to protein crystallization and structure determination. We will make a detailed experimental plan together at start of the project.

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 Molecular Biology, SLU, visit Web-site: http://xray.bmc.uu.se; and on the Department of Microbiology, SLU, visit Web site http://www.mikrob.slu.se


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