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Laboratory of alkanotrophic microorganisms
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Regional collection of alkanotrophic microorganisms
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  • An optimal procedure for species differentiation of phenotypically related Rhodococcus species was developed involving the use of the limited number of numerically determined features;

  • Structural and functional changes of the genus Rhodococcus actinobacteria under induced alkanotrophic metabolism were studied. Adaptation mechanisms of alkanotrophic rhodococci to unfavorable environmental conditions were determined;

  • A method for in situ investigation of Rhodococcus biodiversity in natural habitats was developed using species-specific PCR amplification of 16S DNA and indirect immunofluorescence techniques;

  • The occurrence of some predominant species of propane- and butane-oxidizing rhodococci in the oil-bearing structures was determined; rhodoccoci proved to be useful for oil and gas prospecting. Also designed is a rapid method for indicative Rhodococcus species detection using species-specific polyclonal immune sera;

  • Methods of immunochemical analysis were modified for in and ex situ detection and differentiation of rhodococci. A bank of specific antisera against the known Rhodococcus species was created;

  • Cryoconservation and long-term preservation conditions for pure Rhodococcus cultures were optimized;

  • New data on the physiological role of biosurfactants and mechanisms of their biosynthesis in Rhodococcus cells were obtained. A novel method for efficient production of Rhodococcus surfactant complexes was designed. New biosurfactant preparations were produced possessing high emulsifying and oil-washing activities;

  • Biological activities of Rhodococcus-synthesized glycolipid surfactants were detected relevant to microorganisms (cryo- and lioprotective actions) and macroorganisms (immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory actions);

  • Based on Rhodococcus biosurfactants, developed and patented are a new (lyophilic) biopreparation form useful for oil-contaminated soil clean-up under frigid climates; an organic carrier for immobilized cells of hydrocarbon-oxidizing microorganisms, and an environmentally friendly rapid technology for bioremediation of soils contaminated with oil and oil products. The biotechnology for oil-contaminated soil clean-up was successfully tested in Russia, the Urals area;

  • Effective biocatalysts for the degradation process of unsound drugs (adulterated, rejected or expired date) were designed;

  • A working Regional Specialized Collection of Alkanotrophic Microorganisms was created. The aims of the Collection are to meet the challenges of biotechnology and to study and maintain hydrocarbon- and xenobiotic-degrading cultures. The Collection genofond comprises 2,000 pure identified non-pathogenic strains isolated from soil, surface and stratal water, snow, air, and core samples from contrasting ecologic-geographical regions. The Collection is registered with the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC) and included in World Directory of Collections of Cultures of Microorganisms (WDCCM). It possesses a computerized database and skilled personnel experienced in polyphasic taxonomy methods. The relevant catalogue information on strains is included into the Consolidated Catalogue of Microbial Cultures Held in Russian Non-medical Collections. A Strain Directory and a Catalogue of strains (1994, 2002, and 2006) are available. Additionally, an integrated database was created and a website of the Collection is also designed;

  • Based on the specialized collection, it is proposed to establish a Biological Resource Centre (BRC) providing the relevant information on the Collection holding and responsible for screening, study and conservation of valuable microbial genofond to meet the needs of ecology, industry and biotechnology. This BRC is thought to contribute to the development and application of novel biotechnologies in enzymatic transformations of carbon compounds, production of fodder using non-traditional raw materials, oil and gas prospecting, monitoring and bioremediation of oil-contaminated soils.

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