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Research project: FlexFit
Corynebacterium: improving flexibility and fitness for industrial production
Project time: 01.09.09-30.04.13
Cluster coordinator: Prof. Dr. Michael Bott, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich
Project partners: (alphabetical order)
   Dr. Brigitte Bathe, Evonik Industries AG
   Prof. Dr. Michael Bott, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
   Dr. Melanie Brocker, Forschungszentrum Jülich
   Prof. Dr. Andreas Burkovski, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
   Dr. Lothar Eggeling, Forschungszentrum Jülich
   Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eikmanns, Universität Ulm
   Dr. Julia Frunzke, Forschungszentrum Jülich
   Dr. Jörn Kalinowski, Universität Bielefeld
   Prof. Dr. Reinhard Krämer, Universität zu Köln
   Dr. Kay Marin, Universität zu Köln
   Dr. Katharina Nöh, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
   Dr. Marco Oldiges, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
   Dr. Ansgar Poetsch, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
   Dr. Christian Troetschel, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
   Prof. Dr. Volker Wendisch, Universität Bielefeld
   Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert, Forschungszentrum Jülich

      Overview subprojects

Industrial partners:
   Evonik Degussa GmbH, Halle/Westfalen

The aim of the FlexFit consortium, which comprises 9 academic partners and Evonik Degussa GmbH as industrial partner, is the improvement of the metabolic flexibility and fitness of Corynebacterium glutamicum. This bacterium is the most important industrial amino acid producer (>2.5 million t/a), but also possesses a huge potential for the production of other commercially interesting metabolites and proteins (1-3).
Three major topics will be addressed: (i) By expansion of the spectrum of utilizable carbon and nitrogen sources a flexible feedstock concept shall be realized, which offers the industrial partner the option to choose between different feedstocks on the basis of their prices and availability. As most of the target substrates are present in commercially available feedstocks, their utilization is expected to increase the product yield in the range of 5 - 10%. (ii) Oxygen is a key parameter in current production processes, as it is required for respiration, but also causes oxidative stress. The oxygen concentration in large bioreactors is inhomogeneous and part of the population faces microaerobic or anaerobic conditions. Our consortium will analyse oxygen-dependent processes and search for solutions of the problems related to oxygen. (iii) The third topic aims at the development of novel, innovative technologies for microbial strain development, including the application of single-cell analysis by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and of ultrafast DNA sequencing. In addition, new tools in the area of membrane proteomics and for in vivo real-time analysis of transcriptional responses will be developed, which are currently missing in the methods repertoire. Overall the results obtained within the FlexFit project will improve the possibilities to use C. glutamicum as an industrial platform organism.


1. Kalinowski, J., B. Bathe, D. Bartels, N. Bischoff, M. Bott, A. Burkovski, N. Dusch, L. Eggeling, B. J. Eikmanns, L. Gaigalat, A. Goesmann, M. Hartmann, K. Huthmacher, R. Krämer, B. Linke, A. C. McHardy, F. Meyer, B. Möckel, W. Pfefferle, A. Pühler, D. A. Rey, C. Rückert, O. Rupp, H. Sahm, V. F. Wendisch, I. Wiegrabe & A. Tauch, (2003) The complete Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 genome sequence and its impact on the production of L-aspartate-derived amino acids and vitamins. J. Biotechnol. 104: 5-25.
2. Eggeling, L. & M. Bott, (2005) Handbook of Corynebacterium glutamicum. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.
3. Burkovski, A., (2008) Corynebacteria: genomics and molecular biology. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, U.K.