SEQLAB’s research focuses both on the optimization of DNA and protein sequencing and on the identification of microorganisms suitable for bioethanol production. SEQLAB is the coordinator of a research project entitled “Isolation, Characterization and Optimization of Cellulases of Fungi for the Biotechnological Production of Bioethanol from Local Renewable Raw Materials. This research project was begun in 2008 and will run for three years. It is funded by the Development Bank of Lower Saxony (NBank). Other members of the consortium include the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ) in Braunschweig, the ASA Spezialenzyme GmbH in Wolfenbüttel and Pfeiffer Vacuum (formerly Trinos Vakuum-Systeme GmbH) in Göttingen. The goal of the joint research proposal is to produce bioethanol using biotechnological methods, utilizing localized renewable, residual materials versus customary food sources.
While currently commercially available, celluloses and hemicelluloses are unsuitable for bioethanol production, therefore, the research project aims to develop new technologies for the isolation of bioethanol using vacuum technology and to isolate new enzymes degrading cellulose through the screening of fungi. Using genome sequencing, SEQLAB will characterize the cellulose genes of selected fungi strains. For this purpose, genetic regions in the respective fungi must be identified and amplified using suitable primer pairs. The enzymes will be investigated with respect to specific criteria including optimum temperature, inhibition of the enzyme by sugar and specificity of the substrate.