TU Berlin

UmweltmikrobiologieBacteriophages in Biogas Reactors

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Bacteriophages in Biogas Reactors



In biogas reactors, a highly diverse and dynamic microbial network decomposes organic material to biogas, containing methane as energy-rich component. The structure and functionality of the microbial community in the reactors depend on the biomass composition used as a fermentation substrate and the apparent operating parameters. Imbalances in these factors may result in a shift of the microbial community that can result in process instability or complete process failure. In some instances, the microbial communities shift despite the adequate control of all critical parameters. A possible explanation is that key microorganisms are grazed by viruses that infect and kill bacteria, bacteriophages. Nevertheless, this hypothesis hasn’t been deeply investigated and is a relatively unexplored field.

Aim of this study is to catalogue and characterize bacteriophages targeting microbial keystone species of the anaerobic digestion process.  Therefore, phages from biogas reactor samples will be isolated. Bacterial isolates also developed from biogas reactor samples will serve as host. Electron microscopy and DNA sequences analyses will be applied for primary characterization of obtained phage isolates.


Your work:

Isolate and propagate phages from biogas reactor samples. Host bacteria that will be used in this project are members of orders Bacteroidalesand/or Clostridiales


The student will be able to characterise isolated phages while learning classical and molecular methods in microbiology like: cultivation, enrichments, electron microscopy (TEM), DNA extraction, PCR and FISH




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