Michael Jetten - Biography#


Publications list
CV on Radboud website http://www.ru.nl/onderzoek/kennisbank/jetten
Public CV on nl.linkedin.com/in/mikejetten/

During his scientific career prof. Jetten has been fascinated by the enormous diversity of microbes, their metabolic potential, and their interactions in complex communities. During his PhD, he studied communities of methane producing Archaea and could show that novel enzymes and the acetyl-coenzyme A pathway were operative in these organisms that are responsible for 70% of the biologically produced methane on Earth. At MIT (Cambridge, USA) he became proficient in metabolic and molecular manipulation of defined co-cultures of (industrial) micro-organism, and was able to construct several consortia for industrial amino acid production. Upon returning to the Netherlands, he started my work on the discovery of “impossible” new microbial communities that can convert ammonium and methane without oxygen. Many of the microbes that he subsequently discovered now seem to contribute significantly to the biogeochemical cycling of the elements nitrogen and carbon, and are part of complex microbial communities. Among those discoveries are: 1) the anammox bacteria that form stable partnerships with various nitrite-supplying microorganisms. Anammox bacteria are unique prokaryotes that harbour a hydrazine synthase complex and a special bacterial organelle. 2) a novel symbiosis between methane-oxidizing bacteria and sphagnum peat mosses that occurs in many peat ecosystems and provide the mosses with additional carbon 3) novel thermoacidiphilic archaea that contain new CS2 converting enzymes that can be applied to clean polluted air streams 4) novel methane oxidizing verrucomicrobia, that are widespread in volcanic area’s around the world, and 5) Methylomirabilis oxyfera bacteria that produce their oxygen by a novel NO dismutase. The anaerobic methane and ammonium-oxidizing micro-organism do occur in many oxygen limited terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In the oxygen minimum zones alone, anammox bacteria together with ammonium-oxidizing archaea may contribute more than 50% to the loss of fixed nitrogen. In addition both anammox and M. oxyfera bacteria can be applied in anaerobic wastewater treatment plant with 15 full scale plant operational worldwide.

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