Microbial and chemical biodiversity

Marine microbes are an important resource for bioactive compounds and biocatalysts with tremendous possibilities e.g. for application for health and biotechnology. In the ecological context, bioactive compounds are considered to have functions in cellular communication, signalling and in the defence against predators and pathogens. Therefore, they may play a significant role in shaping interactions and forming the structure of marine communities. Biocatalysts on the other hand help the microbes to access otherwise hidden nutritional sources (like plant-based fibres or animal derived compounds) or catalyse chemical reactions normally unfavourable in the given environmental conditions (high pressure in the deep sea, low temperatures, high salt concentrations, etc.). The treasure trove of marine microbial biocatalysts is largely unexplored but could help us in addressing urging societal challenges like extensive waste production and plastic pollution. Present and future research in MS is focusing therefore on marine natural products and biocatalysts to investigate their role and function in the marine environment but also the benefits of transferring this knowledge into biotechnological applications for healthcare, food industry and waste management amongst others.

Selected publications


  • Sottorff I, Künzel S, Wiese J, Lipfert M, Preusske, N, Sönnichsen FD, Imhoff JF (2019): Antitumoral anthraquinones from an Easter Island sea anemone: animal or bacterial origin?Mar. Drugs, 17, 154.
  • Villalobos, AV, Wiese J, Imhoff JF, Dorador C, Keller A, Hentschel U (2019): Systematic affiliation and genome analysis of Subtercola vilae DB165T with particular emphasis on cold adaptation of an isolate from a high-altitude cold volcano lake.Microorganisms,7, 107.
  • Wiese J, Imhoff JF (2019): Marine bacteria and fungi as promising source for new antibiotics.Drug Dev. Res., 80, 24-27.
  • Sottorff I, Wiese J, Imhoff JF (2019): High diversity and novelty of Actinobacteria isolated from the coastal zone of the geographical remote young volcanic Easter Island, Chile. Int. Microbiol., 22, 377-370.
  • Sottorff I, Wiese J, Lipfert M, Preußke N, Sönnichsen FD, Imhoff J F (2019): Different secondary metabolite profiles of phylogenetically almost identical Streptomyces griseus strains originating from geographically remote locations. Microorganisms,7, 166.
  • Steinert G, Huete-Stauffer C, Aas-Valleriani N, Borchert E, Bhushan A, Campbell A, Chaib de Mares M, Costa M, Gutleben J, Knobloch S, Lee RG, Munroe S, Naik D, Peters EE, Stokes E, Wang W, Einarsdóttir E, Sipkema D (2018): BluePharmTrain: Biology and biotechnology of Marine Sponges. In: Rampelotto P, Trincone A (eds) Grand Challenges in Marine Biotechnology. Springer, Cham.
  • Wiese J, Saha M, Wenzel-Storjohann A, Weinberger F, Schmaljohann R, Imhoff JF (2018) Vicingus serpentipes gen. nov., sp. nov., a new member of the Flavobacteriales from the North Sea. IJSEM, 68, 333-340.
  • Versluis D, Nijsse B, Naim MA, Koehorst JJ, Wiese J, Imhoff JF, Schaap PJ, van Passel MWJ, Smidt H, Sipkema, D (2018). Comparative genomics highlights symbiotic capacities and high metabolic flexibility of the marine genus Pseudovibrio.Genome Biol. Evol.,10, 125-142.
  • Wiese J, Abdelmohsen UR, Motiei A, Hentschel U, Imhoff JF (2018). Bacicyclin, a new antibacterial cyclic hexapeptide from Bacillus sp. strain BC028 isolated from Mytilus edulis.Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 28, 558-561.
  • Borchert E, Knobloch S, Dwyer E, O’Flynn S, Jackson SA, Jóhannsson R, Marteinsson VT, O’Gara F, Dobson ADW (2017): Biotechnological potential of cold adapted Pseudoalteromonas spp. isolated from ‘deep sea’ sponges. Mar. Drugs, 15, 184.
  • Borchert E, Jackson SA, O'Gara F, Dobson AD (2016): Diversity of natural product biosynthetic genes in the microbiome of the deep sea sponges Inflatella pellicula, Poecillastra compressa, and Stelletta normani. Front. Microbiol., 7, 1027.
  • Wu B, Wiese J, Labes A, Kramer A, Schmaljohann R, Imhoff JF (2015). Lindgomycin, an unusual antibiotic polyketide from a marine fungus of the Lindgomycetaceae. Mar. Drugs,13, 4617-4632.

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