Industrial Microbiology



The Industrial Microbiology (IMB) section seeks to understand how micro-organisms perform in existing and novel industrial processes and, based on this understanding, to improve microbial performance and design new microbial processes.

Microorganisms are already indispensable for large-scale production of fermented food products, chemicals and biofuels. In the 21st century, the need to replace oil-based products by sustainable alternatives poses new scientific challenges to industrial microbiology. At the same time, fast progress in genomics and synthetic biology offers unprecedented possibilities to study and engineer microorganisms.  

Our research is based on integration of quantitative physiology (systems biology) with molecular techniques (genomics, synthetic biology). Our infrastructure includes over 30 bioreactor set-ups for controlled cultivation, as well as state-of-the-art molecular biology, sequencing and flow cytometry/cell sorting equipment.

Our model organisms are mostly yeasts, including laboratory and industrial strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, hybrid brewing strains and ‘non-conventional’ yeast species. In addition, we regularly work on other microbes, ranging from the antibiotic-producing fungus Penicillium chrysogenum to acetic acid bacteria.

Recent highlights from our research include the successful engineering of bakers’ yeast for the production of bioethanol from pentose sugars (now commercialized by DSM), development of new strategies for modular engineering of central metabolism and pioneering research on yeast physiology at near-zero growth rates.

Our collaborations involve academic partners in the Netherlands and abroad. In a number of research projects, we intensively collaborate with major biotech industries (including Heineken, DSM and Amyris).

The Industrial Microbiology section is actively involved in the Delft-Leiden BSc and MSc programmes on Life Science and Technology. We are happy that many students choose to perform their research projects in our group.


Principal Investigators

Permanent Staff

Marijke Luttik

Technician Analytics

Susan Weening

Technician High-Throughput Analysis

Astrid van Uijen

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff

Pilar de la Torre Cortes

Technician Molecular Biology

Jasper Diderich

Research Scientist

Michelle van der Burg

Management assistant

Erik de Hulster

Technician Fermentation

Jannie Kempff-Gruwel

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff

Marcel van den Broek

Technician Bioinformatics

Apilena Sapioper

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff
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