Group Leader/s



The Environmental Biotechnology group was created to investigate the metabolizing abilities of bacteria for environmental applications. We study the genes, enzymes and regulation of the metabolic pathways both to degrade the environmental contaminants and to synthesize chemical compounds by biotransformation/biorefinery processes (e.g., pharmaceuticals, biofuels, biomaterials, enzymes).

We work on the genetic and biochemical characterization of the bacterial catabolic pathways involved in steroid degradation (catabolic genes and regulators) using Mycobacterium smegmatis as model organism. The knowledge of these pathways allows us to create genetically modified bacteria for the production of steroids of pharmaceutical interest from natural substances even using other organisms as cell factories such as Corynebacterium glutamicum. In the same pharmaceutical field we are developing projects that involve the use of metagenomics techniques for bacterial production of antitumor polyketides with the aim of defining a biotechnological process to ensure its supply to study their mechanisms of action and its future commercialization. In the field of biorefineries we have leaded the European project Synpol (FP7) which aims to develop a platform for biopolymer production by the bacterial fermentation (e.g., Clostridium, Rhodospirillum) of synthesis gas (syngas) generated by pyrolysis of highly complex biological wastes (e.g., municipal, commercial, sludge, agricultural). The group is also working with cyanobacteria to explore their applications in the food sector using Arthrospira (Spirulina) as a model system (INSPIRA1 and A4HW projects) or as novel enviromental solutions using Synechoccocus (LIAR project). Green and Sustainable Chemistry is one of the group’s activities aimed at the development of clean industrial bioprocesses with several applications: i) Oil biodesulfurization to reduce, by using recombinant microorganisms (e.g., Rhodococcus, Pseudomonas), the content in organic sulfur of fossil fuels, ii) Bioenergetics to develop modified microorganisms by metabolic engineering (e.g., Clostridium, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Corynebacterium) to produce biofuels (e.g., butanol, isobutanol, 1,3-propanediol); iii) Biocatalytic to produce genetically engineered enzymes with new catalytic properties (e.g., penicillin acylases) or to modify them in order to favor its stability by directed multipoint immobilization processes.


Martínez I, Mohamed ME, Rozas D, García JL, Díaz E  [2016]. Engineering synthetic bacterial consortia for enhanced desulfurization and revalorization of oil sulfur compounds. Metab Eng. 35:46-54.

Revelles O, Tarazona N, García JL, Prieto MA  [2016]. Carbon roadmap from syngas to polyhydroxyalkanoates in Rhodospirillum rubrum. Environ Microbiol. 18:708-720.

Del Cerro C, Peñalver A, Cuevas C, de la Calle F, Galán B, García JL  [2016]. Complete mitochondrial genome of Polymastia littoralis [Demospongiae, Polymastiidae]. Mitochondrial DNA 27:312-313.

Figueras A, Robledo D, Corvelo A, Hermida M, Pereiro P, Rubiolo JA, Gómez-Garrido J, Carreté L, Bello X, Gut M, Gut IG, Marcet-Houben M, Forn-Cuní G, Galán B, García JL, Abal-Fabeiro JL, Pardo BG, Taboada X, Fernández C, Vlasova A, Hermoso-Pulido A, Guigó R, Álvarez-Dios JA, Gómez-Tato A, Viñas A, Maside X, Gabaldón T, Novoa B, Bouza C, Alioto T, Martínez P  [2016]. Whole Genome Sequencing of Turbot [Scophthalmus maximus; Pleuronectiformes]: A Fish Adapted to Demersal Life. DNA Res. 23:181-192

Vlasova A, Capella-Gutiérrez S, Rendón-Anaya M, Hernández-Oñate M, Minoche AE, Erb I, Câmara F, Prieto-Barja P, Corvelo A, Sanseverino W, Westergaard G, Dohm JC, Pappas GJ Jr, Saburido-Alvarez S, Kedra D, Gonzalez I, Cozzuto L, Gómez-Garrido J, Aguilar-Morón MA, Andreu N, Aguilar OM, Garcia-Mas J, Zehnsdorf M, Vázquez MP, Delgado-Salinas A, Delaye L, Lowy E, Mentaberry A, Vianello-Brondani RP, García JL, Alioto T, Sánchez F, Himmelbauer H, Santalla M, Notredame C, Gabaldón T, Herrera-Estrella A, Guigó R  [2016]. Genome and transcriptome analysis of the Mesoamerican common bean and the role of gene duplications in establishing tissue and temporal specialization of genes. Genome Biol 17:32.

Cruz F, Julca I, Gómez-Garrido J, Loska D, Marcet-Houben M, Cano E, Galán B, Frias L, Ribeca P, Derdak S, Gut M, Sánchez-Fernández M, García JL, Gut IG, Vargas P, Alioto TS, Gabaldón T  [2016]. Genome sequence of the olive tree, Olea europaea. Gigascience. 27;5:29

Galán B, Uhía I, García-Fernández E, Martínez I, Bahíllo E, de la Fuente JL, Barredo JL, Fernández-Cabezón L, García JL  [2016]. Mycobacterium smegmatis is a suitable cell factory for the production of steroidic synthons. Microb Biotechnol. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.12429

García-Fernández J, Galán B, Medrano FJ, García JL  [2015]. Characterization of the KstR2 regulator responsible of the lower cholesterol degradative pathway in Mycobacterium smegmatis. Environ Microbiol Rep 7:155-63.

Velasco-Bucheli R, Del Cerro C, Hormigo D, Acebal C, Arroyo M, García JL, de la Mata I  [2015]. Draft Genome Sequence of Actinoplanes utahensis NRRL 12052, a Microorganism Involved in Industrial Production of Pharmaceutical Intermediates. Genome Announc. 8:3[1].

Torres-Bacete J, Hormigo D, Torres-Gúzman R, Arroyo M, Castillón MP, García JL, Acebal C, de la Mata I  [2015]. Overexpression of Penicillin V Acylase from Streptomyces lavendulae and Elucidation of its Catalytic Residues. Appl Environ Microbiol. 81:1225-1



CAM, Contrato Programa Grupos Estratégicos (2000–2004)

Fundación Ramón Areces, FRA-XICN-BT (2000-2003)

Repsol YPF (2000-2001)

EU, QLK3-2000-170 (2000-2003)

CICYT, BIO2000-1076 (2000-2003)

CICYT, BCM2000-0125-CO4-02 (2001-2003)

CICYT, BMC2000-1002 (2001-2003)

CICYT, BIO2000-0009-P4-04 (2002-2004) 

CICYT, BIO2000-0060-P4-03 (2002-2004) 

CICYT, GEN2001-4698-C05-02 (2003-2005) 

CAM, 07M/0076/2002 (2003-2004)

CICYT, BIO2003-01482 (2004-2006)

CICYT, VEM2003-20075-C02-02 (2004-2006)

CICYT, BIO2003-05309-C04-02 (2004-2006)

CAM, AMB-259-0505 (2006-2010)

CSIC 2004 2 0E 073

CICYT, BIO2006-05957 (2006-2009)

CICYT, CTM2006-04007 (2006-2007)

CSIC, 2006 2 0I 069 (2006-2007)

CICYT, BFU2006-15214-C03-01 (2006-2009)

CICYT, MMA 039/2006/3-11.2 (2006-2008)

CSIC, 20042 0E 246

CSIC 200520F0193

EU, NMP2-CT-2007-026515 (2006-2010)

CICYT Consolider CSD2007-00005 (2008-2012)

CICYT BIO2007-29812-E (2008-2010)

MICINN, BFU2009-11545-C03-03 (2010-2012)

Biopolis S.L. PLAN E-MICINN (2010-2011)

Biopolis S.L. CENIT-MICINN (2010-2012)

Fundación General del CSIC (2011-2013)

MINECO, INNPACTO IPT-2011-0752-900000 (2011-2014)

MINECO, INNPACTO IPT-2011-1337-010000 (2011-2014)

ARAMCO (2012-2014)

EU, KBBE Call 6-311815 (2012-2016)

MINECO, BIO2012-39695-C02-01 (2013-2015)

MINECO, RTC-2014-1764-3 (2014-2016)

MINECO, RTC-2014-2249-1 (2014-2017)

MINECO, BIO2013-49667-EXP (2014-2016)

Fundación Ramón Areces. XVII Concurso Nacional (2015-2017)

CAM, S2013/ABI-2783 (2014-2018)

EU, FET-OPEN 686585. H2020 (2016-2019)

MINECO, BIO2015-66960-C3-3-R (2016-2019)


- MINECO/FEDER A4HW RTC-2016-4860-2



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