We are interested in biochemistry and regulation of the enzymes of anaerobic microbial hydrocarbon catabolism, which were discovered only recently. Since the previously known aerobic metabolic pathways of hydrocarbons always depend on molecular oxygen as cosubstrate for the initial reactions, these anaerobic pathways must involve enzymes with novel catalytic mechanisms. We are working on the identification of the respective new metabolic pathways of hydrocarbons and related substrates as well as on the purification and characterization of the enzymes involved. The enzymic reactions in our systems are often complete biochemical novelties, involving several highly oxygen-sensitive enzymes, many different types of metallo-cofactors and radical intermediates. We intend to use these enzymes to develop whole-cell systems with novel microbial pathways that allow access to potential interesting biotechnological products. We use methods spanning from small- to large-scale cultivation of microorganisms to modern analytic processes, molecular biology and bacterial genetics in a broad range of species, as well as purification of proteins and their biochemical, spectroscopic and structural characterization.
FB Biologie, Mikrobiologie, Prof. Dr. J. Heider