Duration: 36 months

Coordinator: Dr Trygve Brautaset, SINTEF (Norway)

Contact Person:

Dr. Trygve Brautaset
Pb. 124 Blindern,
NO-0314 Oslo, Norway
e-mail: Trygve.Brautaset[at]
tel: (+47) 98283977
fax: (+47) 22067350 



  • SINTEF, Trondheim (Norway)
  • ETH Zürich (Switzerland)
  • University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
  • Westfalian Wilhelms University Münster (Germany)
  • University of Toulouse (France)

Project Description:

One-carbon (C1) compounds such as methane and methanol are attractive, non-food and low-cost carbon and energy sources for microbial bioprocesses, which can be utilized by specialized groups of microorganisms; the methylotrophs. Research efforts with different model strains revealed that methylotrophy consists of a set of discrete functional modules that are ultimately linked to central metabolism. In the different phylogenetic groups of known methylotrophic bacteria, which include Proteobacteria and Gram-positive bacteria, alternative non-orthologous modules exist for C1 conversion. Those ensure oxidation of the reduced C1 source to CO2 for energy generation, and C1 assimilation with or without net CO2 fixation for biomass formation. By integrating genomic and experimental knowledge from different methylotrophic model organisms will define – by means of in silico modeling – ideal combinations and minimal sets of modules, and design strategies for their synthetic assembly, transfer, and coordinated expression in biotechnologically important bacterial hosts. Physiological characterization and omics-approaches including fluxomics will be used to analyse and evaluate the genetically engineered cells with respect to the acquired methylotrophic properties. For further improvement this approach will be repeated iteratively to integrate and/or delete specific genes and operons. The generated knowledge will contribute to an increased understanding of bacterial methylotrophy and will facilitate transfer of methylotrophy to biotechnologically relevant bacterial species as a new modular platform for methanol-based production of bulk chemicals.