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

New publication: Rojas-Tirado P, Pedersen PB, Vadstein O, Pedersen L-F (2019): Microbial dynamics in RAS water: Effects of adding acetate as a biodegradable carbon-source. Aquacultural Engineering 84: 106-116. Doi: 10.1016/j.aquaeng.2018.12.010

On November 20, Erlend Hafsten Solberg got his Master's thesis approved, entitled "Capacity of a flow-through biofilter system to secure K-selection and microbial stability in the out-flowing water".

New publication: Tsagaraki T, Pree B, Leiknes Ø, Larsen A, Bratbak G, Øvreås L, Egge J, Spanek R, Paulsen M L, Olsen Y, Vadstein O, Thingstad T F (2018): Bacterial community composition responds to changes in copepod abundance and alters ecosystem function in an Arctic mesocosm study. ISME Journal 12: 2694–2705. doi:  10.1038/s41396-018-0217-7

New publication: Vadstein O, Attramadal KJK, Bakke I, Olsen Y (2018): K-selection as microbial community management strategy: A method for improved viability of larvae in aquaculture. Front. Microbiol. 9: 2730. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02730

New publication: Nordgård, A.S.R., Hennie Bergland, W.H., Bakke, R., Østgaard, K. and Bakke, I (2018): Mapping anaerobic sludge bed community adaptations to manure supernatant in biogas reactors. Scientific Reports 8:15870 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-34088-1.

Our advanced PhD course BT8101 Microbial Ecology is currently running, as popular as ever, with a great international group of students:

New publication: Vadstein, O., Attramadal, K.J.K., Bakke, I., Forberg, T., Olsen, Y., Verdegem, M., Giatsis, C., Skjermo, J., Aasen, I.M., Gatesoupe, F.J., Dierckens, K., Sorgeloos, P. and Bossier, P. (2018): Managing the microbial community of marine fish larvae: a holistic perspective for larviculture. Front. Microbiol. 9:1820. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01820.

On August 14, Chinweike "Chris" Udoye got his Master's thesis approved, entitled "Gut microbiota of Atlantic salmon: Effect of genetics and feed."

New publication: Vestrum, R.I., Attramadal, K.J.K., Winge, P., Li, K., Olsen, Y., Bones, A.M., Vadstein, O. and Bakke, I. (2018): Rearing water treatment induces microbial selection influencing the microbiota and pathogen associated transcripts of cod (Gadus morhua) larvae. Front. Microbiol. 9:851. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00851

New publication: Vestrum, R.I., Luef, B., Forberg, T., Bakke, I. and Vadstein, O. (2018): Investigating fish larvae-microbe interactions in the 21st century: Old questions studied with new tools. In: Yúfera, M. (ed): Emerging Issues in Fish Larvae Research. Springer, Cham. ISBN 978-3-319-73243-5 / 978-3-319-73244-2.

On May 23, Alice Mühlroth successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled: "The influence of phosphate depletion on lipid metabolism of microalgae". Congratulatulations!

On May 15, Anette Voll Bugten got her Master's thesis approved, entitled: "The effect of membrane filtration on the microbial communities associated with rearing water, gut and skin mucus of Atlantic salmon parr (Salmo salar) in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)". 

On May 15, Charlotte Nilsen got her Master's thesis approved, entitled: "Effects of salmon lice treatment on bacterial density and community composition of the Atlantic salmon skin mucus microbiota". 

New publication: Moreno-Andrés, J., Ambauen, N., Vadstein, O., Hallé, C., Acevedo-Merino, A., Nebot, E., Meyn, T. (2018): Inactivation of marine heterotrophic bacteria in ballast water by an electrochemical advanced oxidation process. Water Research 140: 377-386. Doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.04.061

On February 2, Jenny Nesje got her Master's thesis approved, entitled "Impacts of organic matter removal efficiency on the microbial carrying capacity and stability of land-based recirculating aquaculture systems".

New publication: Østgaard, K. (2018): Livet på Mars - før eller seinare. Naturen nr. 1, 11-19. DOI: 10.18261/ISSN.1504-3118-2018-01-03. In Norwegian only. 

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.