Environmental Microbiology

The COMphage Project

Role of phage infections on biotechnological relevant processes mediated by an abundant freshwater group - the Comamonadaceae

The Comamonadaceae (COM) from the Betaproteobacteria class, order Burkholderiales, are ubiquitous bacteria in public water systems and are involved in micropollutant and plastic removal, biofilm formation, denitrification, and clogging. Phages drastically affect bacterial populations because they can kill specific bacteria and/or alter their physiology. To date, little is known about phages of the COM. Our objective is to evaluate the biotechnological potential of phages to control selected members of COM and to investigate how they influence metabolic functions carried out by this group. To achieve this goal, we will isolate and characterize COM-infecting phages. Moreover, we will evaluate how phage-bacteria interactions are influenced by physicochemical conditions relevant in water treatment. The gained knowledge may result in phage-based approaches to optimize water treatment systems by modulating bacterial populations and may contribute to a better understanding of the influence of phages on metabolic functions carried out by COM.

The COM project is a shared between the working groups (AG) of Dr. Barrero Canosa and Dr. Cooper and was funded by Max-Buchner-Forschungsstiftung; DECHEMA. Additionally, we are working in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Biotechnology of the UFZ and the laboratory of Biocorrosion of the CIC.