Day 2 :
Ghent University, Belgium
Time : 09:30-10:00
W. VERSTRAETE was born on April 25, 1946 in Beernem (Belgium). He graduated in 1968 from the Gent University as bio-engineer. He followed a summer course on Soil Microbiology at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. In 1971, he obtained a Ph D degree in the field of microbiology at the Cornell University, Ithaca (USA).\\r\\nSince 1971, he worked at the Gent University, first as assistant and since 1979 as professor and head of the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET - Faculty of Bioscience Engineering). Since October 2011, he has become emeritus professor.\\r\\nHis R&D has as central theme: Microbial Resource Management ; ie the design, operation and control of processes mediated by mixed microbial cultures. W. Verstraete has field experience with respect to drinking water production plants (slow sand filtration), aerobic wastewater treatment (in particular with respect to nitrification-denitrification), anaerobic digestion of wastewaters and sludges, solid state fermentation of organic residues and bioremediation processes of soils and sediments. He has also gained experience in various aspects of pre- and probiotics used in human and animal nutrition and in systems which simulate the latter .
Microbial ecologists have struggled for a long time with the concept of how to represent in a single comprehensive term the fact that micro-organisms apparently can grow and work together . Most often one has referred to \\\'mixed cultures \\\' respectively \\\'microbial associations or communities\\\' . In that respect , the word \\\'biofilm\\\' was indicative of living and working together in a structured way . Yet the term \\\'microbiome\\\' as coined for the first time in 2005 , was even more striking (Backhed et al. 2005) . Indeed , it provides a connation which does not relate to carrier or surface materials and thus can be applicable for bio-systems operational in full scale technical installations such as drinking water supply installations, used water treatment systems , air scrubbers , composting plants , various types of anaerobic digester systems , bio-electrochemical configurations , soil biotreatment installations . In all these technical systems , normally one has organized communities of microbes at work and they are present in the form of 3-dimensional coagulates, flocs, sludges, granules , deposits .. Also in various food treatment facilities and zootechnical and medical devices open to microbibal invasion , microbiomes are the central active principle .They bring forward changes in chemical or physical compostion . In addition , they are often highly desired because they exclude unwanted species and thus have a barrier function . For these technical systems , the concept of \\\'microbiome \\\' as the bio-catalytic actuator has been a breakthrough because it reflects both the microbes and the collective genomes which are interacting . Clearly, the technologist dealing with the design, the optimization , the operation and the control of technical microbial systems has at last a term which reflects the very nature of his/her attention ie the assemblage of micro-organisms operating as a complex self organizing system having a level of species stability and driving particular conservation and conversion processes under open and variable conditions .
The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Keynote: Cellulose, cellulosomes and biofuels
Time : 10:00-10:30
Edward A Bayer is a Professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. He is Co-Discoverer of the cellulosome concept and has founded, organized and chaired an ongoing Gordon Research Conference on this subject. Since 2008, he has been serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the US-DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). He is Editor-in-Chief of Biotechnology Advances, Section Editor for Biotechnology for Biofuels, and serves on the Editorial Board of several other journals, including Environmental Microbiology and Current Opinion in Biotechnology. He has authored over 380 articles and reviews, and is a Member of both the American and the European Academies of Microbiology.
The plant cell wall comprises a collection of natural polymers, which include numerous complex carbohydrates, e.g., cellulose, xylans, mannans, arabinans, etc., and the aromatic polymer lignin, of which cellulose is the most abundant. Cellulose is composed entirely of the simple sugar glucose linked in β(1→4) bonds to form the repeating unit, the disaccharide cellobiose, which is arranged into long linear chains. This arrangement affords near-perfect hydrogen bonding within and between neighboring chains, forming a crystalline-like material, whereby its glucose residues are “locked” in place, virtually inaccessible to the organisms in nature that would otherwise exploit the glucose as an excellent food source. Despite its recalcitrance, an ample corps of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) can cope with decaying cellulosic matter, by virtue of the cellulolytic enzymes, the cellulases, that they produce. Aerobic fungi and bacteria tend to produce large amounts of cellulases and hemicellulases that together act synergistically in decomposition of the target polysaccharides to their component soluble sugars, as opposed to selected anaerobic bacteria that produce a multi-enzyme complex called the cellulosome. The cellulosome contains numerous cellulases, hemicellulases and related enzymes, attached to the bacterial cell surface, thus enabling efficient degradation of cellulosic substrates. Recent work has been centered on dismantling the cellulosome into its component parts and reassembling them into “designer cellulosomes” of precise content and configuration. This approach reveals insight into the rationale behind its catalytic efficiency, and the knowledge gained enable fabrication of more potent designer cellulosomes for conversion of plant-derived biomass into liquid biofuels.
Coburg University, Germany
Time : 10:30-11:00
Matthias Noll received his Diploma from University of Kassel, Germany, 2001, Ph.D. degree from Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany 2004. He worked since 2001 at the Department of Biogeochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg as phD-student and thereafter as PostDoc. From 2005 to 2006 he was PostDoc at the Department of Environmental Microbiology of the Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant dynamics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland. From 2007 to 2010 he was an independent Junior Researcher at the Department Biology in Materials Protection and Environmental Issues at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany. From August 2010 to March 2012 he was a Senior Researcher at the Department Hygiene and Microbiology at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany.
Since April 2012 he is a full professor at the University of Applied Science and Arts in Coburg and finished his habilitation at the Technical University of Berlin in June 2012. In September 2014 he is an assistant professor at the University of Bayreuth.
Currently Matthias Noll teaches microbiology, microbial ecology, molecular biology and general biology at University of Applied Science and Arts in Coburg and at the University of Bayreuth. His field of work comprehend biology, microbiology and molecular biology. Therefore he is dealing with the structure and function of complex microbial communities in various environments. His research is directed towards coupling microbial diversity to abiotic and biotic key factors such as temperature, spatial organization, metabolic microbial activity, gradients of oxygen and ions. He is expert in function-identity tools such as stable isotope probing to elucidate key-players in natural and anthropogenic environments.
The wood protection industry has refined their products from chrome-, copper-, and arsenate-based wood preservatives toward solely copper-based preservatives in combination with organic biocides. Environmental use of copper-based preservatives leads to an enrichment of copper tolerant microbial communities in respective soil environments. Such soil communities are overall able to decompose copper-based preserved wood over a long time period and thus leading to major damages in wooden stakes. To investigate the effect of wood preservatives on fungal and bacterial community structure and composition, five different vineyard and fruitgrowing soil environments were evaluated over time. In total, 440 soil samples (5 soil environments, 4 incubation times, 5 preservative treatments, 4 replicates, + 40 virulence controls) were collected across Germany and southern Europe and incubated in accelerated soil incubation studies. To test the efficacy of wood preservatives, wooden specimens were impregnated with water (A as reference) or different biocide-based preservation treatments (B=containing copper, triazoles and benzalkonium chloride; C=containing triazoles and benzalkonium chloride, encapsulated; D=containing triazoles and benzalkonium chloride, non-encapsulated; and E=containing copper). Samples were selected for next-generation sequencing and quantitative PCR by 16S rRNA and ITS gene region, respectively, based on mass loss and bending elasticity results. For all dominant taxa, the composition and diversity of fungal and bacterial communities were significantly environment specific and remained less affected by the wood preservative treatment and incubation time.\\\\r\\\\nSurprisingly, about 80 % and 30 % of the genera of the bacterial and fungal community, respectively, were phylogenetically similar but uneven distributed within the samples. The Shannon diversity index (H’) over time was even distributed in the bacterial community and was not influenced by preservative treatments. In contrast, the corresponding H’ of the fungal community shifted towards high abundances of Ascomycota Talaromyces in treatment E of northern and central Germany as well as in southern France. Members of the genus Talaromyces are known cellulose degrading organisms with potentially high tolerance towards copper. In conclusion, a decreasing fungal community composition over time indicates that few fungi were functionally superior in the main wood decay process.