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.


García-Fernández J, Martínez I, Fernández-Cabezón L, Felpeto-Santero C, García JL, Galán B  [2017]. Bioconversion of Phytosterols into Androstadienedione by Mycobacterium smegmatis CECT 8331. Methods Mol Biol. 1645:211-225.

Martínez I, El-Said Mohamed M, Santos VE, García JL, García-Ochoa F, Díaz E.  [2017]. Metabolic and process engineering for biodesulfurization in Gram-negative bacteria. J Biotechnol. 262:47-55.

de Sousa M, Manzo RM, García JL, Mammarella EJ, Gonçalves LRB, Pessela BC  [2017]. Engineering the l-Arabinose Isomerase from Enterococcus Faecium for d-Tagatose Synthesis. Molecules. 22(12). pii: E2164.

Zamarro MT, Barragán MJL, Carmona M, García JL, Díaz E.  [2017]. Engineering a bzd cassette for the anaerobic bioconversion of aromatic compounds. Microb Biotechnol. 10(6):1418-1425.

Sotillo A, Pedrero M, de Pablos M, García JL, García E, García P, Pingarrón JM, Mingorance J, Campuzano S.  [2014]. Clinical evaluation of a disposable amperometric magneto-genosensor for the detection and identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae. J Microbiol Methods. 103:25-28



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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