In the group of Microbial Synthetic Biology we harness microbial C1 metabolism to establish methanol-based bioprocesses for production of industrially relevant value-added compounds. Our research is centered around thermophilic Bacillus methanolicus which has potential to become an industrial workhorse for biotechnological production. We aim at development of a technology where C1 compounds are converted into higher carbon molecules using native and synthetic metabolic pathways in methylotrophic microorganisms. Such approach has twofold impact on current challenges of (bio)chemical industry (i) introduction of sustainable feedstock for biotechnology which do not compete with food and feed industries for resources, (ii) establishment of biocatalysts for activation of stable C1 molecules and their selective transformations, particularly formation of C–C bonds.
In our research we apply rational strain design and optimization strategy based on an iterative design-build-test cycle wherein strain performance is characterized in-depth, including genome-scale technologies such as transcriptome sequencing. This approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the metabolism of selected production strains, which simplifies the prediction of next targets for metabolic engineering. Furthermore, we use adaptive laboratory evolution as a tool for strain optimization which does not require any a priori knowledge of the strain metabolism.