We focus on high throughput screening of microbial strains/genes and explore the values of these microbial bio-bricks in fields such as dairy, sewage treatment, environmental engineering, inspection and quarantine, agricultural feed, enzyme industry, biochemical industry, and green energy.

Based on collaboration with various partners, the following are on-going R&D projects:

High efficient cellulase

Lignocellulosic biomass can be utilized to produce ethanol, a promising alternative energy source instead of the limited crude oil. The main challenges of ethanol production from lignocellulosic materials are the low yield and high cost of the hydrolysis process. Considerable efforts have been made to find new cellulose genes from the soils, compost, animal (termites and panda) intestines which convert lignocellulosic biomass with high efficiency.

Efficient biotransformation of organic waste to methane

We are trying to discover methane-producing genes with specific characteristics from activated sludge, manure, and biogas pool. The stable bacterial community, which has high efficiency of converting organic waste to biogas at low temperature, will be enriched and applied to environmental engineering..

Construction and application of biosensors for environmental pollutants detection

Biosensors are molecular sensors that combine a response gene components with a fluorescent reporter gene. We have explored several degradation/regulatory genes related to typical pollutants from environmental micro-organisms meta-genomics by high-throughput screening, such as heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbon, and dioxin. We have developed microbial whole-cell biosensors, which can be used to detect a variety of pollutants, and can be widely applied in environment monitoring, food safety and other fields.

Oil reservoir microorganism

We investigated the microbial community in oil reservoirs and the effect it has on oil displacement efficiency. By analyzing the origin of the bacterial community structure, and the influence of external microbes, we are able to provide guidance for a suitable choice of oil displacement agent. In addition, the analysis of functional genes gives insight into the mechanisms of microbial strain displacement, influence factor, migration and transformation, and complex metabolic pathways. We obtained important target genes in degradation pathways, and provide a reference for monitoring and regulating of water injection and oil production, as well as selecting and evaluating the best flooding conditions.

Whole-genome resequencing, molecular breeding and strain improvement of industrial microbiology

We focus on industrial microbiology in antibiotics, amino acids, and wine production. Genomics studies provide essential information for understanding the mechanism of metabolic pathways. Genetic manipulation of microorganisms will be conducted according to findings with which to construct new strains for commercial and industrial production.

Optimization of strains with high lactic acid yield by high-throughput screening

By the use of the microbial high-throughput screening platform, we isolated lactic acid bacteria from environmental samples, such as dairy products, animal intestines, and pickled cabbage. A lactic acid bacteria library has been established. Various functions of these strains are being tested to find potential probiotics which will be applied to dairy products, health care products and pharmaceutical industry.

Mechanisms and application of plastic

Widespread studies on the biodegradation of plastics have been carried out in order to overcome the environmental problems associated with synthetic plastic waste. We are currently trying to isolate bacteria which can degrade plastics from various sources. The genomics sequencing, proteomics and metabonomics of these strains will help to reveal the mechanisms of degradation.