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Project in English

Enzymes of the Future from marine biodiversity: Ikaite columns i Greenland – an extreme environment as source for new industrial enzymes. 

Peter Stougaard, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Department of Ecology, Royal Veterinary and Agriculture University (

Microorganisms from Nature constitute an important source for industrial enzymes and other bioactive compounds, like antibiotics. Organisms, which live under extreme conditions for example sea ice, hot springs and soda lakes are especially important, since they produce enzymes that are active at low and high temperatures and at high pH, respectively. In the project, we aim at isolating enzymes from bacteria, which live inside ikaite columns, an extreme environment in Greenland. Submarine ikaite columns are found one place on Earth, in the Ikka Fjord in South-Western Greenland. The interior of the columns is cold and alkaline with a pH approximately 10.4. The organisms inside the columns are adapted to the extreme environment and they produce enzymes and bioactive compounds, which are active at low temperature and high pH.

The participants in the project are 4 microbiologists, 1 science writer and 1 professional diver in addition to two students from 1G or 2G in Denmark and Greenland. The two students will be selected on the basis of a competition in which students from Denmark and Greenland shall make a poster describing the biotechnological use of enzymes from Nature. The two students will work together with the scientists in the Ikka Fjord in Greenland in approx. two weeks and later one week in a biotechnological laboratory at Copenhagen University. At the end of the project the two students will prepare a report together with the science writer and the scientists.

Udskriv side

Ikaite column in the Ikka Fjord, SW Greenland

Ikait-søjle i Sydvest Grønland