Several years ago, the DOE JGI sequenced the genomes of seven members of the Thermotogales family, in part to find bacterial enzymes that are capable of breaking down biomass and are stable at high temperatures. Thus far, characterized members of the Thermotogales family have fallen into one of two categories: anaerobic thermophiles or hyperthermophiles. Researchers have found evidence that suggests Thermotogales strains also thrive in anaerobic mesothermic environments. Colloquially referred to as “mesotoga,” the proteins in these bacteria are adapted to lower temperatures, which had never been found before. To learn more about the mesotoga, researchers want to sequence one strain of Thermotogales.
The genomic information from this first mesophilic Thermotogales bacterium is expected to have bioenergy and bioremediation applications. From a bioenergy perspective, the Thermotogales bacteria are capable of producing hydrogen and the process by which they do so would be of interest to researchers interested in developing renewable sources of energy. From a bioremediation standpoint, the bacteria could have novel catalytic functions that would be useful for cleaning up sites contaminated with petrochemicals and industrial wastes.
Principal Investigators: Camilla Nesbø, University of Alberta
Program: CSP 2010