Analysis and Control of Microbial Systems

– Combining microbial ecology and environmental biotechnology

Analysis of microbial systems represents a field of science denoted microbial ecology. On the other hand, control of such systems is an essential tool in the applied field of technology called environmental biotechnology. In the spirit of NTNU, we have combined those two fields of science and technology into one active group:

Microbial ecology may be defined as the scientific studies of interactions and basic principles that determine the distribution and abundance of microorganisms. It is therefore a basic platform for analyses of ecological problems as well as a fundament for development of new technologies.

Issues dealt with in microbial ecology may be of fundamental character or of a more applied nature, as is the case in environmental biotechnology. Key issues in microbial ecology are:

  • Limiting factors for critical processes and significant organisms
  • Identification of key biotic interactions
  • Structure and function of food webs

Environmental biotechnology is the application of biotechnology for solving environmental problems, both in the environment per se (e.g. bioremediation) or in man made ecosystems (e.g. sewage treatment plants). In open systems, this can only be achieved by applying ecological principles and cooperating with the local microbiota based on a "join them" instead of a "beat them" strategy.

In principle, Environmental biotechnology may include:

  • Cleaning of effluents and treatment of waste
  • Alternative and more environmental friendly processes
  • Alternative and more environmental friendly products

Thus, while microbial ecology tries to understand microbial ecosystems, environmental biotechnology tries to manipulate them, creating what we may denote "un-natural" or purposely man-made as opposed to "natural" ecosystems. See also Scientific Background.


News and Notices

Welcome to Tore Brembu: Tore Brembu, formerly Department of Biology NTNU, is a Researcher starting in our Group 01.02.2018 to work on the molecular mechanisms underlying biomineralization and patterning in the diatom cell wall (Norgers forskningsråd, FriPro). His project leader is Olav Vadstein. 

New publication: Mühlroth A, Winge P, El Assimi A, Jouhet J, Maréchal E, Hohmann-Marriott MF, Vadstein O,  Bones AM. 2017. Mechanisms of phosphorus acquisition and lipid class remodeling under phosphorus limitation in Nannochloropsis. Plant Physiology 175, 1543–1559. Doi: 10.1104/pp.17.00621

New publication: Østgaard K. og Indergaard, M. (2017): Vår historiske bruk av tang og tare. Naturen nr. 5, 194-206. DOI: 10.18261/issn.1504-3118-2017-05-02. In Norwegian only.

On December 8, Line Strand Karlsholm got her Master's thesis approved, entitled «Intragenomic variation among 16S rRNA copies in Vibrio». 

New publication: Nordgård, A.S.R., Hennie Bergland, W.H., Vadstein, O., Mironov, V., Bakke, R., Østgaard, K. and Bakke, I (2017): Anaerobic digestion of pig manure supernatant at high ammonia concentrations characterized by high abundances of Methanosaeta and non-euryarchaeotal archaea. Scientific Reports 7: 15077. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-14527-1.

New publication: Henry, I.A., Kowarz, V. and Østgaard, K. (2017): Aerobic and anoxic biodegradability of amines applied in CO2-capture. Int. J. Greenhouse Gas Control 58, 266–275

New publication: Gonzalez-Silva, B.M., Rønning A.J., Andreassen, I.K., Bakke, I., Cervantes, F.J., Østgaard, K., Vadstein, O. (2017): Changes in the microbial community of an anammox consortium during adaptation to marine conditions revealed by 454 pyrosequencing. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 101(12), 5149-5162. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8160-5

On October 27, Anna Synnøve Nordgård successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled: "Microbial community analysis in developing biogas reactor technology for Norwegian agriculture". Congratulations!

On September 12, Elise Torbjørnsen Øygarden got her Master thesis approved, entitled: "Influence of genetic background and environmental factors on the skin microbiota of salmon fry".