• Our new home

    since summer 2021.

  • Hunting for microbes since 2003

  • We seek to understand

    the role of microorganisms in Earth's nutrient cycles

    and as symbionts of other organisms

  • Cycling of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur

    affect the health of our planet

  • The human microbiome -

    Our own social network of microbial friends

  • Ancient invaders -

    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

  • Marine symbioses:

    Listening in on conversations

    between animals and the microbes they can't live without

  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

    into the ecology of microbes

  • Doctoral School in Microbiology and Environmental Sciences

  • PhD program in Microbial Symbioses

    A special FWF funded track in our doctoral school

Dome News

Latest publications

Microbial community composition and hydrochemistry of underexplored geothermal waters in Croatia

In Croatia, a variety of geothermal springs with a wide temperature range and varied hydrochemical conditions exist, and they may harbor different niches for the distribution of microbial communities. In this study, 19 different sites, mainly located in central and eastern Croatia, were selected for primary characterization of spring hydrochemistry and microbial community composition. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, it was found that the bacterial communities that dominated most geothermal waters were related to Proteobacteria and Campylobacteria, while most archaeal sequences were related to Crenarchaeota. At the genus level, the prokaryotic community was highly site-specific and was often dominated by a single genus, including sites dominated by HydrogenophilusSulfuricurvumSulfurovumThiofaba and Nitrospira, while the most abundant archaeal genera were affiliated to the ammonia-oxidizing archaea, Candidatus Nitrosotenuis and Candidatus Nitrososphaera. Whereas the microbial communities were overall highly location-specific, temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrate, total nitrogen, sulfate and hydrogen sulfide, as well as dissolved organic and inorganic carbon, were the abiotic factors that significantly affected microbial community composition. Furthermore, an aquifer-type effect was observed in the community composition, but there was no pronounced seasonal variability for geothermal spring communities (i.e. the community structure was mainly stable during the three seasons sampled). These results surprisingly pointed to stable and geographically unique microbial communities that were adapted to different geothermal water environments throughout Croatia. Knowing which microbial communities are present in these extreme habitats is essential for future research. They will allow us to explore further the microbial metabolisms prevailing at these geothermal sites that have high potential for biotechnological uses, as well as the establishment of the links between microbial community structure and the physicochemical environment of geothermal waters.

Mitrović M, Kostešić E, Marković T, Selak L, Hausmann B, Pjevac P, Orlić S
2022 - Systematic and Applied Microbiology, in press

Impaired Mucosal Homeostasis in Short-Term Fiber Deprivation Is Due to Reduced Mucus Production Rather Than Overgrowth of Mucus-Degrading Bacteria.

The gut mucosal environment is key in host health; protecting against pathogens and providing a niche for beneficial bacteria, thereby facilitating a mutualistic balance between host and microbiome. Lack of dietary fiber results in erosion of the mucosal layer, suggested to be a result of increased mucus-degrading gut bacteria. This study aimed to use quantitative analyses to investigate the diet-induced imbalance of mucosal homeostasis. Seven days of fiber-deficiency affected intestinal anatomy and physiology, seen by reduced intestinal length and loss of the colonic crypt-structure. Moreover, the mucus layer was diminished, expression decreased, and impaired mucus secretion was detected by stable isotope probing. Quantitative microbiome profiling of the gut microbiota showed a diet-induced reduction in bacterial load and decreased diversity across the intestinal tract, including taxa with fiber-degrading and butyrate-producing capabilities. Most importantly, there was little change in the absolute abundance of known mucus-degrading bacteria, although, due to the general loss of taxa, relative abundance would erroneously indicate an increase in mucus degraders. These findings underscore the importance of using quantitative methods in microbiome research, suggesting erosion of the mucus layer during fiber deprivation is due to diminished mucus production rather than overgrowth of mucus degraders.

Overbeeke A, Lang M, Hausmann B, Watzka M, Nikolov G, Schwarz J, Kohl G, De Paepe K, Eislmayr K, Decker T, Richter A, Berry D
2022 - Nutrients, 18: in press

A look beyond dietary (poly)phenols: The low molecular weight phenolic metabolites and their concentrations in human circulation.

A large number of epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beverages rich in (poly)phenols promote numerous health benefits from cardiovascular to neurological diseases. Evidence on (poly)phenols has been applied mainly to flavonoids, yet the role of phenolic acids has been largely overlooked. Such phenolics present in food combine with those resulting from gut microbiota catabolism of flavonoids and chlorogenic acids and those produced by endogenous pathways, resulting in large concentrations of low molecular weight phenolic metabolites in human circulation. Independently of the origin, in human intervention studies using diets rich in (poly)phenols, a total of 137 low molecular weight phenolic metabolites have been detected and quantified in human circulation with largely unknown biological function. In this review, we will pinpoint two main aspects of the low molecular weight phenolic metabolites: (i) the microbiota responsible for their generation, and (ii) the analysis (quali- and quantitative) in human circulation and their respective pharmacokinetics. In doing so, we aim to drive scientific advances regarding the ubiquitous roles of low molecular weight phenolic metabolites using physiologically relevant concentrations and under (patho)physiologically relevant conditions in humans.

Carregosa D, Pinto C, Ávila-Gálvez MÁ, Bastos P, Berry D, Santos CN
2022 - Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf, in press

Lecture series

DOME Lecture: “'Dark oxygen' - an electron acceptor for productive and diverse microbial communities in ancient groundwaters"

Emil Ruff
Marine Biological Laboratory, Massachusetts, USA
15.06.2022
12:00 h
hybrid, UBB HS 2

DOME Lecture: "Creating a “niche” and making the most of it: Bacteria – insect interactions in a mutualistic endosymbiosis"

Anna Zaidman-Remy
Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, Lyon, France
21.04.2022
12:00 h
hybrid, UBB HS 2

DOME Lecture: "A physical niche regulates a complex microbiome in the Drosophila gut"

William Ludington
Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Science, Maryland, USA
24.03.2022
14:00 h
Online