Peter Stougaard

Peter Stougaard

Associate Professor

Research focus: "COOL MICROBIOLOGY"

Microbial genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology.

Arctic agriculture, biocontrol and antifungal compounds, extremophilic microorganisms, enzymes and application of enzymes, biotechnology.

My main research interests comprise two areas

1) Microorganisms in Arctic agriculture. In Greenland potatoes are grown with limited crop rotation and without the use of pesticides. Despite this and the fact that plant pathogenic fungi have been observed, no severe diseases of potato have been found. We hypothesize that this is due to beneficial, antifungal microorganisms and/or to the low temperatures. We have isolated a number of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, which inhibit the growth of plant pathogenic fungi in vitro, and we have identified several genes involved in this antifungal activity. Our final goal is to document that such biocontrol bacteria function in situ in Greenlandic potato fields.

2) Enzymes from Arctic microorganisms. Cold-active, industrial enzymes isolated from Arctic microorganisms may facilitate novel industrial processes, which are more hygieinic, economical and environmentally safe. We are isolating enzyme-producing microorganisms from extreme Greenlandic environments. Special focus has been on microorganisms from alkaline (pH 10.4) and cold (2-6 degrees C) ikaite columns in the Ikka Fjord in South Greenland. We have isolated a number of enzymes from the microorganisms and recently, we have filed a patent on a cold-active beta-galactosidase. Other enzymes like amylases, cellulases, glucanases, proteases have been identified and are being investigated.

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