Environmental Biotechnology Group
5 th floor, 72076 Tübingen
The Environmental Biotechnology Group is located in the Geo and Environmental Research Center (GUZ) at the University of Tuebingen.
We investigate the use of natural microbes in engineered systems to make conversions, such as the treatment of wasted organic materials and industrial off-gases into useful products.
The Group consists of the Angenent Lab, Molitor Lab, Baur Lab, Ortiz Lab, Stouten Lab, and Schmitz Lab. We combine bioprocess/environmental engineering with microbiology including metagenomics/proteomics, and systems biology/metabolic engineering.
Lars Angenent was filmed and interviewed for a tv program on renewable technologies (Plan B) on ZDF.
Lars Angenent was awarded the Leibniz Prize for 2023
We want to make our societies more sustainable by developing innovative biotechnology-production platforms in the lab that can be translated into the real world. With this development and translation of technology, we aspire to make an impact on reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere or by combining carbon capture and utilization into useful products. In our research group and spin-off start-up companies, microbes that originated from our environment are put to work in bioreactors to make biological conversions. Through gas fermentation, it is even possible to use CO2 and/or carbon monoxide (CO) as a carbon course by feeding in gases as the only substrate.
Environmental Biotechnology is closely aligned with finding technological solutions to our biggest societal problems that have to do with the rapid deterioration of our environment. However, we do not lose sight of non-technological issues such as policy making, social issues, sustainable assessments, and economic viability.
The Baur Lab is interested in utilizing waste gases such as carbon dioxide, working toward sustainability and a circular bioeconomy. Bacteria can use waste gases to produce value-added compounds such as chemicals or bio-degradable plastics. Bacteria can be genetically modified to produce these compounds and to improve the (carbon) flux toward the desired products. We combine techniques, from medium and fermentation optimization to genetic engineering, to increase product formation and evaluate the success using a wide range of analytical methods.
Innovative Cultivation Techniques in Microbial Ecology and Physiology
The Tree of Life reveals a remarkable diversity concentrated within the microbial domain. The vast array of microbial species reflects a spectrum of evolutionary adaptations and survival strategies. Our research delves into the realm of interactions and environmental fluctuations to explore these fundamental ecological phenomena. Traditionally, insights into microbial physiology have stemmed from relatively straightforward cultivation experiments, which inadvertently overlook the complex physiological responses that microbes exhibit across varied environments. By investigating the world of microbial interactions and dynamics, we strive to uncover the niche preferences and comprehensive physiological capabilities of microbial species.
The Molitor Lab is at the cross-discipline intersection of microbiology and biotechnology. Our mission is to use microbiological, genetic engineering, and systems biology tools to put microbes to work in biotechnological applications, and to unravel interactions within microbial communities on a molecular level.
We combine various techniques in our laboratories to address these research questions, which is only possible because we are a diverse group of people with a background in microbiology, biochemistry, systems biology, and biological engineering. Furthermore, we strongly believe in research as a collaborative effort and that we can unfold our full potential through collaborations in Tübingen, Germany, and abroad.
Since the early stages of my career, I have centered my research on integrating various technologies and leveraging the advantages of diverse approaches in the sustainable management of residues and environmental risks. Our lab focuses on the effective management of emergent contaminants and organic waste from various sources, with particular emphasis on water treatment and solid waste management. More importantly, we believe that a singular approach to biodegrading environmental contaminants, without their conversion into industrially relevant products, is insufficient to meet the current societal necessities of a circular economy.
Current food practices are a major contributor to climate change, posing a serious threat to our planet. Developing and implementing renewable technologies is needed to close the nutrient and carbon cycles and support a circular economy. The Schmitz lab is interested in harnessing the nutritional potential to address the growing global demand for protein in food applications.