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Last update: 09 May 2017

Joining ERA-IB consortium MetaCat [January 2017]
Since January 2017 our department belongs to the MetaCat consortium - a metagenomic collection of novel and highly efficient biocatalysts for industrial biotechnology (→ read more)
New OBAC cluster funded within ERA-IB [November 2016]
Partners form Frankfurt, Ulm, La Coruna, Gent and Göttingen will work together within the joint project 'OBAC - Overcoming energetic barriers in acetogenic conversion of carbon dioxide'. (→ read more)
FLEXIZUCKER - new BMEL funded project [October 2016]
Process engineering, enzymatic and genomic characterization of a flexible biogas production with targeted use of sugar beets (→ read more)
Annual Genomics Workshop [July 2016]
The 4th 'International Workshop on Prokaryotic Genomics & Bioinformatics' took place from 19-22 July 2016. (→ read more)
CDiff project elongation until 2018 [July 2016]
A research co-operation of microbiologists from northern Germany analyses the hospital-aquired pathogen Clostridium difficile in order to develop new diagnostic tools and therapies. (→ read more)

Bacillus Industrial Genomics & Strain Design
Dr. Sonja Volland ()

Bacillus strains are used for industrial production of proteases, amylases and secondary metabolites. The production is a complex process during which the organism has to adapt its metabolism to the changing conditions within the fermentation. To improve the overall process, knowledge of the regulatory processes during fermentation is very favorable. For that the main focus of our research is the identification and analysis of RNA-based regulators involved in energy- and biosynthesis metabolism of production and wild type strains of B. licheniformis.

In a combined effort with our industrial cooperation partner Henkel we want to investigate what it takes to be an optimal industrial production strain. During a model fermentation process carried out by Henkel we took samples for transcriptome, proteome and metabolome analysis. By combining and comparing our generated data sets we want to elucidate regulatory processes in wild type versus production strains, with focus on RNA-based regulation mediated by riboswitches, noncoding and antisense RNAs. The design of tools for management and bioinformatic analysis of the numerous data sets is also part of the project, as well as experimental verification and characterization of identified regulons. The sample processing and data generation is performed in cooperation with groups specialized on proteomics and metabolomics (Ernst Moritz Arndt University Greifswald), microarray-based transcriptomics (TU Munich) and RNA chemistry (Goethe University Frankfurt). As part of the Göttingen Genomics Laboratory we are specialized in genome and transcriptome sequencing and analysis, vector and strain design, as well as design and generation of bioinformatic tools. The data analysis and the scientific evalution of all data is performed in our group.

This project is founded in a BMBF framework to support biotechnology in Germany: “Biotechnologie - Chancen nutzen und gestalten”, by the BMBF funding guideline “GenoMik-Industrie“.

Further research interests of our group are the genomic composition of the species B. licheniformis and B. pumilus, as well as the development and regulation of natural competence in Bacilli. Natural competence is a trait that enables bacteria to take-up free DNA from the environment and integrate it into the genome by homolog recombination. Since genetic susceptibility is an inevitable requirement for strain design, the understanding of natural competence in bacilli is of great benefit for the construction of improved strains.


Hertel R, Volland S, Liesegang H (2015) Conjugative reporter system for the use in Bacillus licheniformis and closely related Bacilli. Lett Appl Microbiol. 60(2): 162-167 (abstract)

Kostner D, Luchterhand B, Junker A, Volland S, Daniel R, Büchs J, Liebl W, Ehrenreich A (2015) The consequence of an additional NADH dehydrogenase paralog on the growth of Gluconobacter oxydans DSM3504. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 99(1):375-386 (abstract)

Jakobs M, Hoffmann K, Liesegang H, Volland S, Meinhardt F (2015) The two putative comS homologs of the biotechnologically important Bacillus licheniformis do not contribute to competence development. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. Dec 19. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25520171.

Handtke S*, Volland S*, Methling K, Albrecht D, Becher D, Nehls J, Bongaerts J, Maurer KH, Lalk M, Liesegang H, Voigt B, Daniel R, Hecker M (2014) Cell physiology of the biotechnological relevant bacterium Bacillus pumilus-An omics-based approach. J Biotechnol. 192(A):204-214 (abstract)

Jakobs M, Hoffmann K, Grabke A, Neuber S, Liesegang H, Volland S, Meinhardt F (2014) Unravelling the genetic basis for competence development of auxotrophic Bacillus licheniformis 9945A strains. Microbiology160:2136-2147 (abstract)

Rachinger M, Volland S, Meinhardt F, Daniel R, Liesegang H (2013) First insights into the completely annotated genome sequence of Bacillus licheniformis strain 9945A. Genome Announcements 1(4):e00525-13 (abstract).

Rachinger M, Bauch M, Strittmatter A, Bongaerts J, Evers S, Maurer KH, Daniel R, Liebl W, Liesegang H, Ehrenreich A (2013) Size unlimited markerless deletions by a transconjugative plasmid-system in Bacillus licheniformis. J Biotechnol 167(4):365–369 (abstract).

Wiegand S, Rabausch U, Chow J, Daniel R, Streit WR, Liesegang H (2013) Complete genome sequence of Geobacillus sp. strain GHH01, a thermophilic lipase-secreting bacterium. Genome Announcements 1(2):e00092-13 (abstract).

Wiegand S, Dietrich S, Hertel R, Bongaerts J, Evers S, Volland S, Daniel R, Liesegang H (2013) RNA-Seq of Bacillus licheniformis: active regulatory RNA features expressed within a productive fermentation. BMC Genomics 14:667 (abstract).

Wiegand S, Voigt B, Albrecht D, Bongaerts J., Evers S., Hecker M, Daniel R, Liesegang H (2013) Fermentation stage-dependent adaptations of Bacillus licheniformis during enzyme production. Microb Cell Fact. 12:120 (abstract).