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Research Focus: Microbes as Responders to Climate Change

Algae plate
Photo: MPI Marburg / Tobias Erb

Periods of extreme temperature and competition for limiting resources, such as water and/or nutrients are examples of the altered environmental input to microbial cells caused by climate change. Depending on the cellular response of microbes to these environmental cues, the output of greenhouse gas-converting microorganisms can become either beneficial or detrimental to climate change.

In our Microbes-for-Climate initiative, we bring together experts in microbial carbon metabolism, environmental sensing, metabolic stress response and systems biology. We aim at reaching an integrative understanding of environmentally relevant microbes: from the reaction mechanism of individual enzymes to their integration and regulation at the microbial cell level, which ultimately determines the capture or release of greenhouse gases in the environment.

Such integrative understanding is not only important to predict how robust microbial cells operate greenhouse gas-converting reactions in a changing environment. It is also key to engineer completely novel reactions and robust microbes for sustainable applications in environmental technologies and biotechnology (Research Focus: Microbes providing Solutions).

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