Our Research

At the Biosystems Engineering Lab, we focus on engineering microbial systems to produce biochemicals and bioremediate recalcitrant and toxic compounds. We put special effort into cellular reprogramming via genetic modifications. We also pursue to establish novel bioprocesses utilizing renewable carbon substrates from various waste streams. Besides, we attempt to systematically dissect the metabolic operation of microbes —single and communities—through metabolic network reconstruction, 13C-based flux analysis, and integration of omics data into genome-scale metabolic models. 

 

Systems biotechnology of Pseudomonas for the production of cis,cis-muconate

Systems biology of psychrotolerant bacteria growing at subzero temperatures

Rewiring the metabolic network of Pseudomonas for the synthesis of novel biopolymers

Diesel bioremediation in cold seawater

Process development for bioaccumulation of heavy metals and biosynthesis of nanomaterials

Microbial biopolymer production employing algal biomass under unsterile conditions

Engineering the central carbon metabolism of Pseudomonas to synthesize organic acids and biopolymers from raw glycerol

Bacterial production of carotenoids from low-cost feedstocks

Microbial conversion of waste plastic into biopolymers

Genome-scale metabolic modeling of environmental bacteria

High level biopolymer production from spent coffee

Lab Members

Ignacio Poblete
Associate Professor

ignacio.poblete.c@usach.cl

 Publications

Dr. Ignacio Poblete-Castro studied environmental engineering at the Metropolitan University of Technology in Santiago, following a Master degree in environmental management at the University of Santiago, Chile. He completed a PhD in Systems Biotechnology in 2012 at the German Center for Biotechnology (GBF) and Technical University of Braunschweig. Right after, he moved to the Institute of Biochemical Engineering at TU Braunschweig and did a postdoctoral study on Bioprocess Engineering for high-level production of PHAs, an industrial biopolymer. Back in Chile, he moved to industry to work on bioleaching for copper recovery from ores using extremophile bacterial communities. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Universidad Andres Bello where he founded the Biosystems Engineering Lab (BEL). Recently, he was promoted to Associate Professor at Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) and moved to the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Carla Aravena
PhD student

ct.aravena.carrasco@gmail.com
 Publications

Reasearch: I’m interested in the bioconversion of spent coffee hydrolysates into polyhydroxyalkanoates and the adaptive laboratory evolution of Pseudomonas strains to improve fitness for proper process performance.

Naiyulin Morales
PhD student

nai.morales.bio@gmail.com

 Publications

Research: I am interested in establishing novel microbial remediation processes of heavy metals at cold temperatures and biosynthesize nanomaterials in continuous cultures.

Matias Orelllana
PhD student

mf.orellana.s@gmail.com

 Publications

Research: I am interested in producing microbial biopolymers under unsterile conditions utilizing crude glycerol and algae wastes in various fermentation modes.

Barbara Oliva
Researcher

barbara.oliva.a@gmail.com

 Publications

Research: I am interested in engineering bacterial systems for the production of industrial chemiclas

Giovanna Anziani
PhD student

giovi.anziani@gmail.com
 Publications

Research: I am interested in engineering environmental bacteria for converting PET plastics into biopolymers

Yoelvis Sulbaran
PhD student

yoelvissulbaran@gmail.com

 Publications

Research: I am interested in isolating and characterizing Antarctic bacterial consortia for efficient biodegradation of diesel contaminated seawater at cold temperatures.

Valentina Bravo
Undergraduate Student

valentinabravo@gmail.com

Research: I am interested in synthesizing novel biopolymers for various applications using bacterial extremophiles in bioreactors.

Publications

  • JM. Borrero de Acuña, M. Rhode, C. Saldias, I Poblete-Castro. Fed-batch mcl-Polyhydroxyalkanoates production in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and ΔphaZ mutant on biodiesel-derived crude glycerol. 2021. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 9, 642023.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • I Poblete-Castro, SL Hoffmann, J Becker, C Wittmann. Cascaded valorization of seaweed using microbial cell factories. 2020. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 65, 102-113.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • JM Borrero‐de Acuña, I Gutierrez‐Urrutia, C Hidalgo‐Dumont, C Aravena‐Carrasco, M Orellana‐Saez, N Palominos‐Gonzalez, JBJH van Duuren, V Wagner, L Gläser, J Becker, M Kohlstedt, FC Zacconi, C Wittmann, I Poblete‐Castro. Channelling carbon flux through the meta‐cleavage route for improved poly (3‐hydroxyalkanoate) production from benzoate and lignin‐based aromatics in Pseudomonas putida H 2020. Microbial Biotechnology.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • JM Borrero-de Acuña, I Poblete-Castro. Expanding the reach of recombineering to environmental bacteria. 2020. Trends in Biotechnology 38 (7), 684-685.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • I Poblete-Castro, C Aravena-Carrasco, M Orellana-Saez, N Pacheco, A Cabrera, JM. Borrero-de Acuña. Engineering the Osmotic State of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 for Efficient Cell Disruption and Downstream Processing of Poly(3-Hydroxyalkanoates). 2020. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 8, 161.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • I Poblete-Castro, C Wittmann, PI. Nikel. Biochemistry, genetics and biotechnology of glycerol utilization in Pseudomonas species. 2020. Microbial Biotechnology 13 (1), 32-53.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • van Duuren, J. B., de Wild, P., Starck, S., Bradtmöller, C., Selzer, M., Mehlmann, K., Schneider, R., Kohlstedt, M., Poblete-Castro, I., Stolzenberger, J., Barton, N., Fritz, M., Scholl, S., Venus, J. & Wittmann, C. Limited life cycle and cost assessment for the bioconversion of lignin‐derived aromatics into adipic acid. 2020. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 117 (5), 1381-1393.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • T Godard, D Zühlke, G Richter, M Wall, M Rohde, K Riedel, I Poblete-Castro, R Krull, R Biedendieck. Metabolic Rearrangements Causing Elevated Proline and Polyhydroxybutyrate Accumulation During the Osmotic Adaptation Response of Bacillus megaterium. 2020. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 8, 47.Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • C Pardo-Esté, J Castro-Severyn, GI. Krüger, CE. Cabezas, AC. Briones, C Aguirre, N Morales, MS Baquedano, YN Sulbaran-Bracho, AA Hidalgo, C Meneses, I Poblete-Castro, E Castro-Nallar, MA Valvano and CP Saavedra. The transcription factor ArcA modulates Salmonella’s metabolism in response to neutrophils hypochlorous acid-mediated stress. 2019. Frontiers in Microbiology 10, 2774. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • M Orellana-Saez, N Pacheco, JI Costa, KN Mendez, MJ Miossec, C Meneses, E Castro-Nallar, AE Marcoleta, I Poblete-Castro. In-depth genomic and phenotypic characterization of the Antarctic psychrotolerant strain Pseudomonas sp. MPC6 reveals unique metabolic features, plasticity, and biotechnological potential. 2019. Frontiers in Microbiology 10, 1154. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • N Pacheco, M Orellana-Saez, M Pepczynska, J Enrione, M Bassas-Galia, JM Borrero-de Acuña, FC Zacconi, AE Marcoleta, I Poblete-Castro. Exploiting the natural poly (3-hydroxyalkanoates) production capacity of Antarctic Pseudomonas strains: from unique phenotypes to novel biopolymers. 2019. Journal of industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 46 (8), 1139-1153. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • JM Borrero-de Acuña, C Aravena-Carrasco, I Gutierrez-Urrutia, D Duchens, I Poblete-Castro. Enhanced synthesis of medium-chain-length Poly (3-hydroxyalkanoates) by inactivating the tricarboxylate transport system of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and process development using waste vegetable oil. 2019. Process Biochemistry 77, 23-30. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • I Gutierrez-Urrutia, MJ Miossec, SL Valenzuela, C Meneses, VAP Martins dos Santos, E Castro-Nallar, I Poblete-Castro.  Genome sequence of two members of the chloroaromatic-degrading MT community: Pseudomonas reinekei MT1 and Achromobacter xylosoxidans MT3. 2018. Journal of Biotechnology 275, 13-16. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • Oliva-Arancibia B, Órdenes-Aenishanslins N, Bruna N, Ibarra PS, Zacconi FC, Pérez-Donoso JM, Poblete-Castro I. Co-synthesis of medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoates and CdS quantum dots nanoparticles in Pseudomonas putida KT2440. 2017. Journal of Biotechnology 264, 29-37. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • JM Borrero-de Acuña, C Hidalgo-Dumont, N Pacheco, A Cabrera, I Poblete-Castro. A novel programable lysozyme-based lysis system in Pseudomonas putida for biopolymer production. 2017. Scientific Report 7 (1), 4373. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • CE Torres-Cerna, AY Alanis, I Poblete-Castro, EA Hernandez-Vargas. Batch cultivation model for biopolymer production. 2017. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Quarterly 31, 8. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • Host organism: Pseudomonas putida. I Poblete-Castro, JM Borrero-de Acuña, PI Nikel, M Kohlstedt and C Wittmann. Industrial Biotechnology: Microorganisms. Wiley-Blackwell Biotechnology Book Series. 2017. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • M Varas, C Valdivieso, C Mauriaca, J Ortíz-Severín, A Paradela, I Poblete-Castro, R Cabrera, FP Chávez. Multi-level evaluation of Escherichia coli polyphosphate related mutants using global transcriptomic, proteomic, and phenomic analysis. 2017. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-General Subjects 4, 871-883. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • Beckers V, Poblete-Castro I, Tomasch J, Wittmann C. Integrated analysis of gene expression and metabolic fluxes of PHA-producing Pseudmonas putida grown on glycerol. 2016. Microbial Cell Factories 15, 73. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • Vizoso P, Pacheco N, Bastias-Molina M, Meneses C, Poblete-Castro I. Draft Genome Sequence of the Phenol-Degrading Bacterium Pseudomonas putida H. 2015. Genome Announcement  3, 4. Google Scholar Academic Journal Google Logo Education, PNG, 500x500px, Google Scholar, Academic Journal, Area, Brand, Doctor Of Philosophy Download Free
  • Poblete-Castro I, Binger D, Oehlert R, Rohde M. Comparison of mcl-Poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) synthesis by different Pseudomonas putida strains from crude glycerol: citrate accumulates at high titer under PHA-producing conditions. 2014. BMC Biotechnology 14, 962.
  • Borrero-de Acuña JM, Bielecka A, Häussler S, Schobert M, Jahn M, Wittmann C, Jahn D, Poblete-Castro I. Production of medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoate in metabolic flux optimized Pseudomonas putida. 2014. Microbial Cell Factories 13, 88.
  • Poblete-Castro I, Rodriguez A, Lam, C, Kessler W. Improved production of medium-chain-length Polyhydroxyalkanotes in glucose-based fed-batch cultivations of metabolically engineered Pseudomonas putida strains. 2014. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 24 (1), 59-69.
  • Poblete-Castro I, Binger D, Rodriguez A, Becker J, dos Santos VAP, Wittmann C. In-silico driven metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas putida for the enhanced production of polyhydroxyalkanoates. 2013. Metabolic Engineering 15, 113-123.
  • Poblete-Castro I, Escapa I, Jager C, Puchalka J, Lam C, Shomburg D, Prieto MA, dos Santos VAP. The metabolic response of Pseudomonas putida KT2442 producing high levels of polyhydroxyalkanoates under single- and multiple-nutrient-limited growth: Highlights from a multi- level omics approach. 2012. Microbial Cell Factories 11, 34.
  • Poblete-Castro I, Becker J, Dohnt K, dos Santos V, Wittmann C. Industrial biotechnology of Pseudomonas putida and related species. 2012. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 93(6), 2279- 2290.

Partners

Prof. Christoph Wittmann

Institute for Systems Biotechnology
Saarland University

Dra. Flavia C. Zacconi

Departamento de Química
Pontificia Universidad Católica

Dr. José M. Borrero de Acuña

Institute for Microbiology
TU Braunschweig

Dr. Eduardo Castro Nallar

CBIB
Universidad Andrés Bello

Dra. Ma. Auxiliadora Prieto

CSIC
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas

Dr. Andrés Marcoleta

Facultad de Ciencias
Universidad de Chile

Prof. Vitor Martins dos Santos

Systems and Synthetic Biology

Wageningen University

Dr. Claudio Meneses

CBV
Universidad Andrés Bello

Dr. Pablo I. Nikel

Center for Biosustainability
TU Denmark

Dra. Raquel Lebrero

Institute of Sustainable Processes
Universidad de Valladolid

Dr. Cristobal Galban Malagon

GEMA
Universidad Mayor

Dra. Andréa Carvajal

Facultad de Ingeniería

Universidad Santa María

Dra. Rebekka Biedendieck

BRICS TU Braunschweig

Dr. Francisco Remonsellez

Facultad de Ingeniería
Universidad Catolica del Norte

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