We are members of the Braunschweig Integrated Centre of Systems Biology (BRICS)

Research (group Biedendieck)

Bacillus megaterium and other Bacillus sp.

Electronmicroscopic image of  Bacillus megaterium (big cells) and Escherichia coli (small cells)

(Manfred Rohde (2007), Helmholtz Centre for Infectionresearch, Braunschweig, Germany).



The general aim of our project is to make Bacillus megaterium - by upgrading the vector system and by using the sequence of the genome - an alternative tool for a broad utilization in research and industry.

There are many reasons to apply B. megaterium for the production of recombinant proteins in biotechnological processes. In contrast to Escherichia coli it does not produce any endotoxins and can metabolize various cheap carbon sources. Recombinant plasmids are stably maintained – a quality which distinguishes B. megaterium from Bacillus subtilis. Moreover, B. megaterium shows only low activity of extracellular proteases. Consequently, many recombinantly produced secretory proteins exhibit an excellent stability.

Our group was part of the Sonderforschungsbereich 578 “From Gene to Product” which run out after eleven years of DFG-funding in June 2012.

Currently, we are working on the following projects:

  • Construction of optimized expression vectors for Bacillus megaterium for the production of recombinant intracellular and extracellular proteins, i. e. coexpression of certain genes, coproduction of tRNAs (Our plasmid systems are commerciallized by MoBiTec GmbH (Göttingen) since 2005)
  • Systems biotechnology approaches and metabolic Engineering of Bacillus megaterium to optimize the recombinant production and secretion of proteins (DFG-funded priority programme SPP1934 "Dispersitäts-, Struktur- und Phasenänderungen von Proteinen und biologischen Agglomeraten in biotechnologischen Prozessen")
  • Analysis of the phenotypic heterogeneity of B. megaterium during recombinant protein production (DFG-funded priority programme SPP1617 "Phenotypic Heterogeneity and Sociobiology of Bacterial Populations")


Microbial electrosynthesis

Another research focus is on microbial electrosynthesis, which is a subproject of the NTH funded research unit  "ElektroBak".

Experimental setup of our microbial electrolysis cell.


Our subproject aims to investigate general principles of microbial electrosynthesis (MES) to low molecular organic compounds. In MES experiments certain bacteria are enriched either on the anode or on the cathode under selection pressure and biochemically active biofilms are built. Anodic biofilms transfer released electrons to the anode that serves as the sole electron acceptor. Bacteria grown on the cathode are capable of using electrons supplied by the cathode for e.g. reducing carbon dioxide to low molecular organic compounds. Cellular events of different reference organisms in MES should be investigated, high-performing bacterial communities from domestic wastewater should be characterized and fundamentals of bioengineering should be studied to optimize the potential of MES.


  last changed 07.11.2017
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