Sulfolobus acidocaldarius as a novel thermoacidophilic microbial cell factory for biomanufacturing

  • Peeters, Eveline (Administrative Promotor)
  • Maertens, Jo (Collaborator)
  • De Mey, Marjan (Collaborator)

Project Details


Microbial cell factories are used for the sustainable production of chemicals from renewable lignocellulosic biomass. However, large-scale cost-effective application with traditionally used microorganisms such as Escherichia coli or yeast is often hindered by limitations to consolidate the microbial conversion with high-temperature and low-pH pretreatment processes inherent to the use of recalcitrant lignocellulosic feedstocks. This necessitates the development of alternative hosts.
In this project, we will engineer the genetically amendable archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, growing optimally at 75°C and pH 2-3, as a high-temperature microbial platform for the synthesis of fatty acids, which are important platform molecules for the production of oleochemicals used in applications ranging from biofuels to added-value chemicals. We will adopt a bottom-up synthetic biology approach by engineering a thermophilic functionally reversed beta-oxidation pathway and introducing this into S. acidocaldarius. A combinatorial pathway assembly approach will be used to generate a multitude of strains, which will then be screened using a biosensor based on a native acyl-CoA-responsive transcription regulator.
Besides exploring the use of S. acidocaldarius as a fatty acid production host, this project will deliver generic tools and insights that are crucial to expand the reach of synthetic biology to non-evident extremophilic hosts belonging to archaea, the "third domain of life".
Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/21


  • Microbial cell factories
  • microorganisms

Flemish discipline codes

  • Bio-informatics and computational biology not elsewhere classified