Unlocking Microbial Potential

An open infrastructure for exploring new horizons for research on microbial communities.

UNLOCK Facilities


The modular bioreactor platform consists of different types of bioreactors that can be used in sequential and/or parallel configuration. The platform is specifically suitable for investigating sustainable solutions for environmental challenges, such as degradation of (micro)pollutants, sustainable energy generation, and recovery of resources from complex waste streams.

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The FAIR-data platform allows for data storage, data extraction and analysis of high-throughput data in a cloud-based infrastructure. The data generated will be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) by design, enabling transparent procedures. The FAIR data platform will be equipped with an up-to-date ecosystem of robust state-of-the-art open source tools for data handling, information retrieval, statistical analysis and visualization.

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The parallel cultivation platform consists of multiple bioreactors units that allow for cultivation and investigation of most chemotrophic and phototrophic microbial communities in extremely well-defined conditions. The flexible arrangement of analytical equipment enables the investigation of virtually all redox conditions of interest in microbial ecology, ranging from aerobic to strictly anaerobic conditions.

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The high-throughput cultivation and biodiscovery platform allows for isolation and investigation of yet unknown microorganisms (and consortia) that can be used as building blocks for synthetic mixed cultures. The platform is geared towards strictly anaerobic microorganisms.

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The UNLOCK coordinators

Dr. Alette Langenhoff 

Is Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Technology of Wageningen University, a group that has a strong background in research and development of natural technologies for recovery and reuse, e.g. bio-crystallisation, bio-retention, bio-electrochemistry and bio-degradation of pollutants.

Dr. Peter Schaap 

Leads the Computational Biology group at the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology of Wageningen University, a multidisciplinary team with experts in the fields of Genomics, Bioinformatics and Applied Statistics.

Dr. Robert Kleerebezem 

Is Associate Professor at the Department of Biotechnology at Delft University of Technology, a group which is worldwide leading in research on cultivation, system analysis and functional development of microbial ecosystems.

Prof dr. Hauke Smidt 

Heads the Molecular Microbial Ecology Group at the Laboratory of Microbiology of Wageningen University, where research aims to identify, understand and predict structure, dynamics and functionality of diverse natural and man-made microbial ecosystems.