One of the main interests of the group is the analysis of polysaccharide and oligosaccharide breakdown and utilization by microorganisms adapted to extreme habitats. In particular, we have studied cellulose, xylan and starch degrading enzyme systems from extreme thermophiles and hyperthermophiles, i. e. organisms that grow optimally at 80°C or higher. We are interested in the biochemical properties, the molecular structure and catalytic mechanism, the function(s) of non-catalytic domains, and the cellular localization of unusual glycoside hydrolases and transferases. Other projects in the field of extremophilic microorganisms deal with the enzymology and molecular biology of thermoalkaliphiles and thermoacidophiles. Various projects at the department deal with biotechnologically relevant bacteria, including Bacillus licheniformis, Corynebacterium glutamicum, Gluconobacter oxydans and solventogenic clostridia. Molecular biological, genetic, physiological and fermentation methods are employed to study traits such as central metabolism, enzymology and biotechnological applications.