NMBU Nitrogen Group.

Microbial nitrogen transformations is a core theme of our research group, and we strive to understand the ecology and the regulatory biology of the organisms involved, and their role in the nitrogen cycle at large, including emissions of nitrogen gases to the atmoshpere.

Our applied research includes collaborative projects with fertilizer- , mining-, and wastewater-industries to develop tools to regulate the microbial nitrogen transformations.

Our infrastructure includes robotized incubation systems which are applicable to many systems where the respiratory metabolism plays a key role. We have also constructed a novel tool for monitoring gas fluxes between soil and the atmosphere; watch our field robot in action! Characteristics and performance of the robot can be found here. Together with the company ADIGO, we invite research groups to buy their own robot. This beta version will be called TEMBO. Please check the webpage for TEMBO

We participate in a European network which organizes the annual European Nitrogen Cycle meetings (ENC). ENC 2012 was organized by UMBNG (see abstract book ) and we made a video presenting ENC people and their perspectives. 

Åsa Frostegård, who is one of our leaders, coordinates a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (NORA), which is a consortium of leading European nitrogen research groups (microbiology, biochemistry, ecology), industrial partners (fertilizer industry, wastewater industry and mechatronics). 

NMBU Nitrogengroup

Our environmental rationale is that we need to improve our understanding of the biological and ecological control of the emissions of NO and N2O from biosphere to atmosphere. The ultimate scientific goal is to “bridge” from genotype to phenotype, both for single strains and microbial communities.  

Denitrification Regulatory Phenotype
We study the phenotypes of denitrifying prokaryotes with special emphasis on their transcriptional and post transcriptional regulation of the various enzymes involved in nitrogen redox reactions. We define Denitrification Regulatory Phenotype (DRP) as the characteristic "programmed" response to oxygen depletion. These studies include paradigm strains (such as Paracoccus denitrificans) and suitable mutants, as well as prokaryotes isolated from environmental samples.

Genotype-phenotype / phylogeny / function
The relationship between phylogeny and phenotypic traits within functional groups of prokaryotes is studied, primarily for denitrifying and nitrogen fixing organisms. We find a a variaty of DRP among closely related organisms, with no apparent congruence with phylogeny. Which may be depressing news for molecular ecologist who believe that ecological functions can be predicted by community DNA analyses. 

Microbial communities
We also work along the same lines with microbial assemblages (communities) from environmental samples, identifying their patterns of response to environmental parameters (i.e. community phenotyping) as well as their genetic makeup (genotyping). This study of communities is also used to test the ecological relevance of phenomena observed in model/paradigm strains. For instance,we found compelling evidence for a post transcriptional inhibitory effect of low pH on the expression of N2O reductase in Paracoccus denitrificans, and recent experiments with bacteria extracted from soils have demonstrated that soil bacteria are line P. denitrficans.   

Enzyme kinetics in vivo, and modellingModelling is routinely integrated with our experimental studies of the regulation and kinetics of oxic and anoxic respiration. This has helped us to generate hypotheses and design experiment to test them. Enzyme kinetics determined in vitro are useless, and this forced us to design experiments to determine enzyme kinetic parameters in vivo.

Published 15. December 2015 - 16:38 - Updated 21. April 2017 - 16:13

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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