Microbial Systems

Microorganisms are tiny, yet crucial organism that cycle our planets resources and keep our biosphere balanced. By doing this, they provide countless ecosystem services. Microbes clean our wastewater, detoxify pollutants, generate biogas and biomass, provide nutrients, ferment food, and decompose polymeric substances. Thus, microbes are in the center of transformation processes in natural and engineered systems.

The specific microbial community of a niche and its genepool is called the microbiome. The microbiome composition is important for the functional versatility and the efficiency of the niche’s ecology. We are interested in the microbiomes of engineered and natural water treatment systems, and their functions. It is surprising, how little we know on the microbial communities in the environment, which is why we sometimes refer to it as microbial dark matter. We are currently developing tools (for databases and for single cells) that specifically target the unknown microbes of a microbiome.

In addition, we are currently establishing a small culture collection by high throughput mixed culturing with the goal to target the untapped potential of these poorly described lineages from urban waters. These cultures have the potential to remove pollutants such as trace organic chemicals, and thus may hold the key for applied bioremediation processes.

Microbes possess an array of enzymes for the degradation of all kinds of substances ranging from high molecular weights polymers to low molecular weight aromatic compounds. Fungi are one group of microorganism that produces very efficient exoenzymes that breakdown recalcitrant organic matter. Aquatic fungi in particular are an interesting target group, which are largely unexplored, and which may facilitate enzymatic transformations of pollutants in wastewater reactors.

Latest Publications

  • Rojas-Jimenez, Keilor; Rieck, Angelika; Wurzbacher, Christian; Jürgens, Klaus; Labrenz, Matthias; Grossart, Hans-Peter: A Salinity Threshold Separating Fungal Communities in the Baltic Sea. Frontiers in Microbiology 10, 2019 more…
  • Grossart, Hans-Peter; Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Kagami, Maiko; Wurzbacher, Christian; Cunliffe, Michael; Rojas-Jimenez, Keilor: Fungi in aquatic ecosystems. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2019 more…
  • Nilsson, R. Henrik; Anslan, Sten; Bahram, Mohammad; Wurzbacher, Christian; Baldrian, Petr; Tedersoo, Leho: Mycobiome diversity: high-throughput sequencing and identification of fungi. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2018 more…
  • Wurzbacher, Christian; Larsson, Ellen; Bengtsson-Palme, Johan; Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Svantesson, Sten; Kristiansson, Erik; Kagami, Maiko; Nilsson, R. Henrik: Introducing ribosomal tandem repeat barcoding for fungi. Molecular Ecology Resources, 2018 more…
  • Wurzbacher, Christian; Larsson, Ellen; Bengtsson‐Palme, Johan; Van den Wyngaert, Silke; Svantesson, Sten; Kristiansson, Erik; Kagami, Maiko; Nilsson, R. Henrik: Introducing ribosomal tandem repeat barcoding for fungi. Molecular Ecology Resources 19 (1), 2018, 118-127 more…
  • Anslan, Sten; Nilsson, R. Henrik; Wurzbacher, Christian; Baldrian, Petr; Tedersoo, Leho; Bahram, Mohammad: Great differences in performance and outcome of high-throughput sequencing data analysis platforms for fungal metabarcoding. MycoKeys 39, 2018, 29-40 more…
  • Bengtsson-Palme, Johan; Richardson, Rodney T; Meola, Marco; Wurzbacher, Christian; Tremblay, Émilie D; Thorell, Kaisa; Kanger, Kärt; Eriksson, K Martin; Bilodeau, Guillaume J; Johnson, Reed M; Hartmann, Martin; Nilsson, R Henrik: Metaxa2 Database Builder: enabling taxonomic identification from metagenomic or metabarcoding data using any genetic marker. Bioinformatics, 2018 more…
  • Wurzbacher, C.: Poorly known fungi in natural and engineered biofilms. 5th Biofilm Workshop 2018: Omic approaches in biofilm research: advances in ecology and ecotoxicology, 2018 more…
  • Kluge, M.; Wurzbacher, C.; Rautio, M.; Wauthy, M.; Peura, S.: Exploring the fungal communities of Arctic ponds from continous and discontinous permafrost areas. ISME 17, 2018 more…
  • Fajnorová S.; Hübner U.; Herzog B.; Müller J.; Hellauer K.; Miklos D.; Drewes J.E.; Wanner J.: Fate of antibiotic resistance during advanced wastewater treatment. Vodárenská biologie (Water Supply Biology), 2018 more…
  • Herzog, Bastian; Dötsch, Andreas; Lemmer, Hilde; Horn, Harald; Müller, Elisabeth: Profiling 5-tolyltriazole biodegrading sludge communities using next-generation sequencing and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Systematic and Applied Microbiology 40 (8), 2017, 508-515 more…
  • Hübner, U.; Miklos, D.; Müller, J.; Fajnarova, S.; Herzog, B.; Drewes, J.E.: 4. Reinigungsstufe in Deutschland – Gibt es Alternativen zu Ozon und Aktivkohle? 12. Aachener Tagung Wassertechnologie, 2017 more…
  • Hübner, U., Miklos, D., Müller, J., Fajnarova, S., Herzog, B., Drewes, J.E.: Evaluation of alternative concepts for removal of trace organic chemicals from secondary effluents. IWA 10th Micropol & Ecohazard Conference, 2017 more…
  • Herzog, B., Lemmer, H., Horn, H., Müller, E.: A Note on Benzotriazole Concentrations in the Receiving Waters of different Sewage Treatment Plants. Asian Pacific Journal of Microbiology Research 3 (1), 2015, 1-3 more…
  • Yuan, H., Herzog, B., Helmreich, B., Lemmer, H., Müller, E.: Determination of optimal conditions for 5-methyl-benzotriazole biodegradation with activated sludge communities by dilution of the inoculum. Science of The Total Environment 487, 2014, 756-762 more…
  • Herzog, B., Yuan, H., Lemmer, H., Horn, H., Müller, E.: Effect of acclimation and nutrient supply on 5-tolyltriazole biodegradation with activated sludge communities. Bioresource Technology 163, 2014, 381-385 more…
  • Herzog, B., Lemmer, H., Huber, B., Horn, H., Müller, E.: Xenobiotic benzotriazoles — biodegradation under meso- and oligotrophic conditions as well as denitrifying, sulfate-reducing, and anaerobic conditions. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 21 (4), 2014, 2795-2804 more…
  • Herzog, B., Lemmer, H., Helmreich, B., Horn, H., Müller, E.: Screening and monitoring microbial xenobiotics’ biodegradation via rapid, inexpensive and easy to perform microplate. BMC Research Notes 7 (101), 2014, 1-9 more…
  • Herzog, B., Lemmer, H., Helmreich, B., Horn, H., Müller, E.: Monitoring Benzotriazoles concentrations, removal efficiencies and aquatic impact in three different wastewater treatment plants. Water Science & Technology 69 (4), 2014, 710-717 more…
  • Herzog, B., Huber, B., Lemmer, H., Horn, H., Müller, E.: Analysis and in situ characterization of activated sludge communities capable of benzotriazole biodegradation. Environmental Science Europe 25, 2013, 1-8 more…