Some like it hot

Servé Kengen (Department of Microbiology, Wageningen University)

Location: Sala de Graus, ETSEQ
Start time: Nov. 29, 2013, 12 p.m.

Abstract

Life can have many forms, ranging from very small unicellular microbes to large multicellular organisms, from cold- to heat-loving, from acid- to base-loving, either autotrophic or heterotrophic. The focus of the current presentation is on those that like it hot. For more than 40 years we know that some microbes are able to proliferate at high temperatures, reaching even 121 degrees. These (hyper)thermophiles cover representatives from the bacterial and the archaeal domain. Living at these higher temperatures requires various adaptations at different levels. The what, where and how of this fascinating group of micobes will be explained. Examples of our research on a few (hyperthermophilic model organisms will be discussed. Which adaptations have been encountered and how can we make use of these special metabolisms or the extraordinary enzymes.

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About Servé Kengen

Institution: Department of Microbiology, Wageningen University

Servé Kengen received his B.Sc. Biology and M.Sc. Microbiology at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He obtained a Ph.D. (1990) at the same University on the biochemistry of methanogenic archaea. In that year he moved to the Wageningen University, where his main focus became the physiology, the biochemistry and the engineering of anaerobes, especially from thermophilic habitats. His research on the metabolism of hyperthermophiles and the enzymes involved has led to various novel metabolic traits and remarkable biocatalysts. In recent years his research focussed biofuel producing microbes, including biohydrogen producing hyperthermophilic bacteria and archaea, but also solvent producing mesophilic clostridia .

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