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Microbe Research LLC is engaged in the discovery and development of powerful and versatile new systems for the genetic manipulation of anaerobic bacteria belonging to the genus Clostridium and close relatives.  Genetic engineering tools and methods under development by Microbe Research are characterized by high efficiency, precise targeting, and minimal required steps to reach desired outcomes.

Various species of the genus Clostridium have attracted interest in recent times as platforms for high-volume production of transportation fuels, industrial solvents, and feedstock for the chemicals industry by fermentation of renewable biomass, municipal wastes or various industrial by‑products.

Success of these industries requires genetic engineering of the producing organisms, not only for more efficient production, but also to understand which biochemical changes will be necessary to achieve it.  Current methods of genetic engineering of clostridia and other obligately anaerobic bacteria have limitations which are solvable by tools under development by Microbe Research.

Recently it was discovered that anaerobic bacteria, and in particular the genus Clostridium, are an under-explored source of natural products of potential use in human and veterinary medicine and in agriculture.  Discoveries include novel polyketide antibiotics active against animal and plant pathogens, powerful antioxidants, and undoubtedly more to come.

As biotechnological applications of Clostridium and other anaerobes expands, so will the need for efficient, precise, and easy to use genetic systems to probe those organisms and engineer their applications.

The coming expansion of applied biotechnology of anaerobes is an opportunity for Microbe Research to address a growing need for genetic engineering tools specifically tailored for Clostridium species and other obligately anaerobic bacteria.

Bacteriophage image

Bacteriophage particles from a high-titer lysate propagated on Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 as the host strain are shown in the upper-right TEM image of this web page.  The negative stain is 1% uranyl acetate.  The capsid diameter is about 60 nanometers.  The phage was isolated in the lab of Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt of the University of Michigan.