Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Track Genetic Detail of a Microbe in Biogas Plants

January 16, 2013

Scientists from the University of Bielefeld's Center for Biotechnology in Germany were able to decipher genetic information of a microbe in biogas plants. Biogas plants produce methane through the fermentation of plant biomass, which can be used to generate power and heat. The decomposition of plant biomass and the production of biogas in agricultural biogas plants are brought about by microbes.

Researchers were able to sequence the first genome of methane-producing archaeon from a biogas plant – a single-celled primordial bacterium which plays an important role in certain biogas plants. However, the research team still has a lot of tasks to accomplish. While previous biogas studies have concentrated primarily on certain marker genes, now the entire genetic information of the microorganisms is to be studied. The research institute is coordinating with Joint Genome Institute in California, USA to produce more than one terabyte of sequence data for this, which is equivalent in volume to approximately 300 human genomes.

For more information, visit http://ekvv.uni-bielefeld.de/blog/uninews/entry/a_giant_puzzle_with_billions.