Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Vicente Sedano Núñez

Date: 03 April 2018
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

Energy conversion mechanisms and electron transfer in syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microbial consortia

Group: Wageningen University, Microbiology
Promotor: A.J.M. Stams
Co-promotor: Dr. C.M. Plugge

Extra information:


In this thesis we investigated in detail the energy conversion and electron transfer mechanisms used by syntrophic propionate-oxidizing microbial organisms. In anaerobic environments where inorganic electron acceptors have been depleted, propionate is one of the most important intermediaries that can only be degraded by bacteria when hydrogen and formate are kept at low concentrations by methanogens. Genomic and proteomic analysis were performed in sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogenic archaea to gain insight in the molecular mechanisms that allow these microorganisms to thrive with limited amounts of energy and how they transfer metabolites among each other. Moreover, the metabolic flexibility and adaptation to changing environmental conditions of a syntrophic propionate-oxidizing bacterium was assessed in sulfate reducing conditions. Finally, a microbial community analysis was performed in an anaerobic membrane bioreactor to monitor the change of the hydrogen partial pressure to disturbances applied to the reactor and how this affected microbial diversity.