Laboratory of Microbiology

Head of Laboratory
Valery Mikhailov, D.Sc., Professor
Lab staff
Scientists: Olga Nedashkovskaya (principal researcher, D.Sc.), Lyudmila Romanenko (principal researcher, D.Sc.), Mikhail Pivkin (principal researcher, D.Sc.), Yulia Khudyakova (researcher, Ph.D.), Natalia Kirichuk (researcher, Ph.D.), Valerie Kurilenko (researcher, Ph.D.), Lyudmila Shevchenko (researcher, Ph.D.), Elena Ivanova (senior researcher, D.Sci).
Laboratory assistants: Marina Goncharenko, Lyudmila Popova, Galina Nasedkina, Valentina Alimova.

Our knowledge of the specific natural factors for growth and development of marine heterotrophic bacteria is poor now. The common media cannot fully replace sea sources of nutrition (sulphated polysaccharides, sea proteins, inorganic elements, etc.) for these bacteria. Therefore, only 1 % (or less) marine microorganisms grows in "standard" laboratory conditions and can be rather full investigated. Collections of microbes must play a leading role for these investigations. The Collection of Marine Microorganisms of the G.B. Elyakov Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences was created in 1985. It allows collecting and studying microorganisms practically from any regions of the World Ocean. Now the Collection is the member of the World Federation for Culture Collections and has official acronym , registration number 644. contains about 4000 strains of marine heterotrophic bacteria (mainly), as well as fungi-micromycetes. It is unique collection in Russia that wholly specializes on marine microorganisms. The main trends of our investigation are systematics and taxonomy, biotechnology and ecology of marine microbes. Our data revealed some general regularities for an understanding of the ecological role of marine microbes and their metabolites. KMM is a fundamental base to search for unique bioactive substances. Promising producers of some significant enzymes (highly active alkaline phosphatases, RNAses, polyuridyl-specific RNAses, restriction endonucleases, b-1,3-glucanases, a-N-galactosidases, a-N-acetylgalactosaminidases, elastases, keratinases) as well as secondary metabolites were found among them. Unexpectedly large number of strains synthesizing antitumor (cytotoxins) and antiviral compounds; producers of new antibiotics, pH-dependent cytostatics and biosurfactants were isolated. Many bacteria of our Collection were described as new species and genera. These and other revealed regularities allow us to carry out sensible and rather cheap screening of producers and study of microbial biodiversity.

Collection of marine microorganisms of PIBOC FEB RAS was created in 1985. It is single collection in Russia of marine prokaryotes from domain Bacteria, and fungi-micromycetes from domain Eucarya, collected almost all regions of the World Ocean. The collection is a member of the World Federation for Culture Collections - WFCC (No. 644, the official acronym - KMM) and has received international recognition.

Research fields:
Systematics and taxonomy of marine bacteria and fungi. Description of new taxa. Search for promising marine microbial producers of enzymes and secondary metabolites. Ecology of marine heterotrophic bacteria and fungi-micromycetes.

The main goal:
New knowledge about fundamental unit “biodiversity↔ecology ↔ biotechnology” of marine microorganisms. The work is performed by coordination between two groups of our Lab: B-group - Study of marine bacteria; F-group – Study of marine fungi.

Highlights and perspectives:
For us, microbophiles, the main aim of microbiology today is to study biosphere and its creators microbes - in detail. Microbiology, ecology and biotechnology of sea microbes are rapidly developing now. Ocean is the biggest reservoir of biota. Only a few species of microorganisms inhabiting it are described. The focus of our research in marine microbiology is to isolate microbial producers of novel secondary matabolites and of poducers of enzymes. At least three (bio)ecological problems have arise in this connection: 1) what specific factors of sea environment are and how these factors affect the distribution, physiological activity, and culturability of marine microorganisms; 2) the impact of macrohydrocoles metabolites on microorganisms, and the opposite situation; 3) other important questions address the role of symbiotic microbes in the production of metabolites previously ascribed to marine macrobiota. The study of taxonomy, biotechnological potential, and ecological properties of marine microorganisms is very promising field of investigations.