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Scientific background and Goals

Scientific background

Microbial communities in engineered and natural habitats consist primarily of uncultured and poorly described microorganisms, sometimes called the “microbial dark matter” of the Earth. These communities are only poorly understood in terms of metabolic food webs, species interaction and adaptation processes. Beyond these fundamental challenges they harbor a great potential for development of sustainable bio-technologies. However, their high complexity requires novel multidisciplinary approaches to reveal their interactions, potential, and how they can be managed.


  • The overall research goal of the Center for Microbial Communities is to provide new fundamental understanding of structure and function of microbial communities in engineered and natural habitats.
  • The Center will strengthen both multidisciplinary research on microbial communities and interactions to industrial partners as well as train and educate PhD students and postdocs.

Main research areas

  • Systems microbiology in wastewater treatment and anaerobic digesters
  • Microorganisms involved in biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal/recovery
  • Microbial detoxification of micropollutants
  • The role of the microbiome for human and environmental health and microbial communities on human implants
  • Bacterial interactions and relationships to local environments
  • Discovery of novel microorganisms and microbial functions
  • Structure and function of the extracellular matrix of microbial communities
  • Development of novel methods in metagenomics, metaproteomics, metabolomics, and single cell microbiology


Microbial Communities: 

Interactions and functions that steward health and environment.