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Laboratory of Microbial Bioenergetics (LMB)
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Head - Professor of Biotechnology,
Dr.Biol. Uldis Kalnenieks

Phone: +371 6703 488
Fax: +371 6703 4885


  • Structure and function of bacterial electron transport chains with low efficiency of energy coupling
  • Engineering of Zymomonas mobilis aerobic metabolism

laboratory-scale fermenters, luminometer, spectrophotometer, spectrofluorimeter, fluorescence detector, oxygen-, carbon dioxide- and ion-selective electrodes, standard laboratory equipment for molecular cloning.

Permanent staff:

5-7 researchers, including PhD and project students.



 Projects from the Latvian Council of Science:

  • NADPH-dependent aerobic energetics of Z. mobilis (01.0401);
  • Alternative mechanisms of cyanide-resistance in bacteria (04.1101)
  • Physiological role of energetically uncoupled respiration in bacteria: the case of Zymomonas mobilis (09.1306)
  • Metabolic engineering of Zymomonas mobilis respiratory chain (536/2012)

Projects funded by ERDF and ESF: 

  • Construction and study of biohydrogen-producing Escherichia coli strains In the scope of ERDF project 2010//0298/2DP/, Coordinated by Riga Technical University,lv/
  • Aerobic metabolic engineering of Zymomonas mobilis In the scope of ESF project 2009//0207/1DP/ Coordinated by Latvia University of Agriculture


Early studies on Zymomonas mobilis aerobic energy metabolism during mid-nineties were done in collaboration with Prof. H. Sahm and Dr. S. Bringer-Meyer, Institute of Biotechnology-1, Research Centre of Juelich, Germany. Part of the recent research work on respiratory chain has been carried out at Prof. R. K. Poole's laboratory, University of Sheffield, UK. This cooperation has been supported by a NATO / Royal Society fellowship and by several Royal Society and BBSRC fellowships for short visits of Professor Kalnenieks to the University of Sheffield.

Academic courses at the Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia:

(1) Bachelor studies

- General Biology (A level; introduction to the chemistry of life) 

- Biochemistry (B level; enzyme kinetics and bioenergetics);

- Microbiology (B level; microbial metabolism)

- Biotechnology (industrial) (B level)

(2) M Sc studies

- Current problems in biology (A level);

- Microbial Bioenergetics (B level);

- Enzymology (B level; metabolic control analysis)


[1] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, S. Bringer-Meyer, R. K. Poole (1998) Membrane D-lactate oxidase in Zymomonas mobilis: evidence for a branched respiratory chain. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 168: 91-97. 

[2] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, M.M. Toma, R. K. Poole (2000) Cyanide inhibits respiration, yet stimulates aerobic growth of Zymomonas mobilis. Microbiology 146: 1259-1266.

[3] R. K. Poole and U. Kalnenieks (2000) Introduction to light absorption: visible and ultraviolet spectra. In: Spectrophotometry & Spectrofluorimetry. A Practical Approach (ed. Michael G. Gore). Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 1-32 (368 pages).

[4] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, M. M. Toma, U. Marjutina (2002) Ethanol cycle in an ethanologenic bacterium. FEBS Letters 522: 6-8.

[5] M. M. Toma, U. Kalnenieks, A. Berzins, A. Vigants, M. Rikmanis, U. Viesturs (2003) The effect of mixing on glucose fermentation by Zymomonas mobilis continuous culture. Process Biochemistry 38: 1347-1350.

[6] U. Kalnenieks, M. M. Toma, N. Galinina, R. K. Poole (2003) The paradoxical cyanide-stimulated respiration of Zymomonas mobilis: cyanide-sensitivity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH II). Microbiology 149: 1739-1744.

[7] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, M. M. Toma (2005) Physiological regulation of the properties of alcohol dehydrogenase II (ADH II) of Zymomonas mobilis: NADH renders ADH II resistant to cyanide and aeration. Archives of Microbiology 183: 450-455.

[8] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, M.M. Toma, J.L. Pickford, R. Rutkis, R.K. Poole (2006) Respiratory behaviour of a Zymomonas mobilis adhB::kanr mutant supports the hypothesis of two alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes catalysing opposite reactions. FEBS Letters 580: 5084-5088.

[9] U. Kalnenieks (2006) Physiology of Zymomonas mobilis: some unanswered questions. Advances in Microbial Physiology 51: 73-117.

[10] U. Kalnenieks, R. Rutkis, Z. Kravale, I. Strazdina, N. Galinina (2007) High aerobic growth with low respiratory rate: The ndh-deficient Zymomonas mobilis. Journal of Biotechnology 131(2S), S264.

[11] U. Kalnenieks, N. Galinina, I. Strazdina, Z. Kravale, J.L. Pickford, R. Rutkis, R.K. Poole (2008) NADH dehydrogenase deficiency results in low respiration rate and improved aerobic growth of Zymomonas mobilis. Microbiology 154: 989-994.

[12] I. Strazdina, N. Kravale, N. Galinina, R. Rutkis, R.K. Poole, U. Kalnenieks (2012) Electron transport and oxidative stress in Zymomonas mobilis respiratory mutants. Archives of Microbiology 194: 461-471.

 [13]  N. Galinina, Z. Lasa, I. Strazdina, R. Rutkis, U. Kalnenieks (2012) Effect of ADH  II-deficiency on the intracellular redox homeostasis in Zymomonas mobilis. The Scientific World Journal, Volume 2012, Article ID 742610, 6 pages


 [14] M. Grube, R. Rutkis, M. Gavare, Z. Lasa, I. Strazdina, N. Galinina and U. Kalnenieks (2012) Application of FT-IR spectroscopy for fingerprinting of Zymomonas mobilis respiratory mutants. Spectroscopy: An International Journal. 27(5-6): 581-585.


 [15] A. Pentjuss, I. Odzina, A. Kostromins, D. A. Fell, E. Stalidzans and U. Kalnenieks (2013) Biotechnological potential of respiring Zymomonas mobilis: A stoichiometric analysis of its central metabolism. Journal of Biotechnology 165: 1-10.


 [16] M. Grube, I. Dimanta, M. Gavare, I. Strazdina, J. Liepins, T. Juhna and U. Kalnenieks (2013) Hydrogen-producing Escherichia coli strains, overexpressing lactose permease: FT-IR analysis of the lactose-induced stress. Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry Doi: 10.1002/bab.1128. [Epub ahead of print]

[17] R. Rutkis, U. Kalnenieks, E. Stalidzans, and D. A. Fell (2013) Kinetic modeling of Zymomonas mobilis Entner-Doudoroff pathway: insights into control and functionality. Microbiology 159: 2674-2689.

          [18] R. Rutkis, N. Galinina, I. Strazdina, and U. Kalnenieks (2014) The inefficient aerobic energetics of Zymomonas mobilis: Identifying the bottleneck. Journal of Basic Microbiology 54: 1-8.

          [19] E. Balodite, I. Strazdina, N. Galinina, S. McLean, R. Rutkis, R. K. Poole, and U. Kalnenieks (2014) Structure of the Zymomonas mobilis respiratory chain: oxygen affinity of electron transport and the role of cytochrome c peroxidase. Microbiology 160: 2045-2052.

          [20] U. Kalnenieks, A. Pentjuss, R. Rutkis, E. Stalidzans, and D.A.Fell (2014) Modeling of Zymomonas mobilis central metabolism for novel metabolic engineering strategies. Frontiers in Microbiology 5:42. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00042

          [21] Rutkis R, Strazdina I, Balodite E, Lasa Z, Galinina N, Kalnenieks U (2016) The Low Energy- Coupling Respiration in Zymomonas mobilis Accelerates Flux in the Entner-Doudoroff Pathway. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0153866. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0153866

          [22] Muter O., Grube M., Kalnenieks U. (2017)  A directed evolution strategy for enhancing microbial activity in biodegradation processes, 2nd International Caparica Conference on Pollutant Toxic Ions and Molecules, PTIM 2017,