Petri dish with the bacterium Streptomyces lividans.

Bioremediation using microorganisms

Petri dish with the bacterium Streptomyces lividans.
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Streptomycetes from a heavy metal containing site of the former uranium mining site Wismut in Eastern Thuringia are used to determine the mechanisms of heavy metal resistance in this group of important soil microbes and questions of bio-geo-interactions. Investigation of superoxide dismutase and other factors of heavy metal binding capacity are investigated by biochemical and molecular techniques. In addition, different plants, with bacteria and/or AM fungi are used for pot and field experiments to develop bioremediation approaches. The monitoring of microbial biodiversity in disturbed ecosystems is included in these investigations which are part of a Geo-Bio-Interaction group in collaboration with other researchers of the university and Wismut GmbH/WISUTEC.

Another focus is the investigation of bacterial diversity of different habitats, also with regard on ist geological background, like humic-acid coated sands, salt springs of the Thuringian bassin or radionuklide-containing water from different mines.

Further the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using autochthonous microorganisms in contaminated gas plant areas is analysed, also focusing on the development of probable bioremediation approaches.

Colleagues in these projects:

M.Sc. Benjamin Funai, M.Sc. David Fürst, M.Sc. Jennifer Stoiber-Lipp, M.Sc. Katja Burow, M.Sc. Thomas Krauße, M.Sc. Sebastian Pietschmann, M.Sc. Flávio Silva Costa, M.Sc. Marie Harpke, M.Sc. Johanna Ziethe.

Alumni: Dr. Andrea Beyer, Dr. Hanka Brangsch, Dipl.-Biol. Stefanie Gierer, Dr. Götz Haferburg, M.Sc. Michael Klose, Dipl.-Biol. Stefanie Koch, M.Sc. Uwe Lange, Dr. Francesca Langella, Dr. Aileen Meyer, Dr. René Phieler, Dr. Martin Reinicke, Dr. Frank Schindler, Dr. Andre Schmidt, Dr. Eileen Schütze, M.Sc. Jennifer Stoiber-Lipp, Dr. Annekatrin Voit.

Most important publications:

Burow B, Grawunder A, Harpke M, Pietschmann S, Ehrhardt R, Wagner L, Voigt K, Merten D, Büchel G, Kothe E. (2019). Microbiomes in an acidic rock–water cave system. FEMS Microbiol Lett, 366(13), fnz167,

Krauße T, Schütze E, Phieler R, Fürst D, Merten D, Büchel G, Kothe E. (2017). Changes in element availability induced by sterilization in heavy metal contaminated substrates: A comprehensive study. J Hazard Mater 370. 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.11.008.

Meier A, Singh M, Kastner A, Merten D, Büchel G, Kothe E. (2017). Microbial communities in carbonate rocks-from soil via groundwater to rocks. J Basic Microbiol 57, 10.1002/jobm.201600643.

Meier A, Kastner A, Harries D, Wierzbicka-Wieczorek M, Majzlan J, Büchel G, Kothe E. (2017). Calcium carbonates: Induced biomineralization vs. controlled macromorphology? Biogeosciences Discuss 14, 1-21. 10.5194/bg-14-4867-2017.

Schütze E, Ahmed E, Voit A, Klose M, Greyer M, Svatos A, Merten D, Roth M, Holmström SJM, Kothe E. (2015) Siderophore production by streptomycetes - stability and alteration of ferrihydroxamates in heavy metal contaminated soil. Env Sci Poll Res 22, 19376-19383.

Schindler F, Merbold L, Karlsson S, Sprocati AR, Kothe E (2016) Seasonal change of microbial activity in microbially aided bioremediation. J Geochem Explor, in press. doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2016.04.001.

Beyer A, Burow K, Büchel G, Kothe E (2015) Bacterial communities in salt marine evaporate rocks and pristine Zechstein aquifers. Geomicrobiol J, DOI: 10.1080/01490451.2015.1099764.

Beyer A, Rzanny M, Weist A, Möller S, Burow K, Gutmann F, Neumann S, Lindner J, Müsse S, Brangsch H, Stoiber-Lipp J, Lonschinski M, Merten D, Büchel G, Kothe E. (2015) Aquifer community structure in dependence of lithostratigraphy in groundwater reservoirs. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 19342-19351.

Phieler R, Merten D, Roth M, Büchel G, Kothe E (2015) Phytoremediation using microbially mediated metal accumulation in Sorghum bicolor. Env Sci Poll Res 22, 19408-19416.

Schütze E, Klose M, Merten D, Nietzsche S, Senftleben D, Roth M, Kothe E (2014) Growth of streptomycetes in soil and their impact on bioremediation. J Hazard Materials 267, 128-135.