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Bacterial isoprene metabolism: a missing link in a key global biogeochemical cycle

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "IsoMet" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: NR4 7TJ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙494˙693 €
 EC max contribution 2˙494˙693 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-11-01   to  2021-10-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA UK (NORWICH) coordinator 2˙494˙693.00


 Project objective

Isoprene is a very important climate-active biogenic volatile organic compound with both global warming and cooling effects. Globally, terrestrial plants emit huge amounts (~500-750 million tonnes) of isoprene per year. This is approximately the same quantity as methane released to the amosphere. Isoprene emissions are predicted to rise due to global warming and increased use of isoprene-emitting trees (oil palm, poplar) for biofuel production but almost nothing is known about its biogeochemical cycle. Microbes are a sink for isoprene and through their activity in soils and on the leaves of isoprene-emitting plants, they will be important in removal of isoprene in the biosphere before it gets released to the atmosphere. The aim of the project is to obtain a critical, fundamental understanding of the metabolism and ecological importance of biological isoprene degradation and to test the hypothesis that isoprene degrading bacteria play a crucial role in the biogeochemical isoprene cycle, thus helping to mitigate the effects of this important but neglected climate-active gas. Key objectives are to elucidate the biological mechanisms by which isoprene is metabolised, establish novel methods for the study of isoprene biodegradation and to understand at the mechanistic level how isoprene cycling by microbes is regulated in the environment. Bacteria that metabolise isoprene will be isolated from a range of terrestrial and marine environments and characterised using a multidisciplinary approach and a wide range of cutting edge techniques. We will elucidate the pathways of isoprene metabolism and their regulation by characterising genes/enzymes catalysing key steps in isoprene degradation, use innovative molecular ecology methods to determine distribution, diversity and activity of isoprene degraders and assess the contribution that microbes make in the removal of isoprene from the biosphere, thereby mitigating the effects of this climate-active compound.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Nasmille L. Larke-Mejía, Andrew T. Crombie, Jennifer Pratscher, Terry J. McGenity, J. Colin Murrell
Novel Isoprene-Degrading Proteobacteria From Soil and Leaves Identified by Cultivation and Metagenomics Analysis of Stable Isotope Probing Experiments
published pages: , ISSN: 1664-302X, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02700
Frontiers in Microbiology 10 2020-01-27
2017 Andrew T. Crombie, Helen Emery, Terry J. McGenity, J. Colin Murrell
Draft Genome Sequences of Three Terrestrial Isoprene-Degrading Rhodococcus Strains
published pages: e01256-17, ISSN: 2169-8287, DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.01256-17
Genome Announcements 5/45 2019-06-13
2018 Terry J. McGenity, Andrew T. Crombie, J. Colin Murrell
Microbial cycling of isoprene, the most abundantly produced biological volatile organic compound on Earth
published pages: , ISSN: 1751-7362, DOI: 10.1038/s41396-018-0072-6
The ISME Journal 2019-06-13
2017 Antonia Johnston, Andrew T. Crombie, Myriam El Khawand, Leanne Sims, Gregg M. Whited, Terry J. McGenity, J. Colin Murrell
Identification and characterisation of isoprene-degrading bacteria in an estuarine environment
published pages: 3526-3537, ISSN: 1462-2912, DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13842
Environmental Microbiology 19/9 2019-06-13
2018 Ornella Carrión, Nasmille L. Larke-Mejía, Lisa Gibson, Muhammad Farhan Ul Haque, Javier Ramiro-García, Terry J. McGenity, J. Colin Murrell
Gene probing reveals the widespread distribution, diversity and abundance of isoprene-degrading bacteria in the environment
published pages: , ISSN: 2049-2618, DOI: 10.1186/s40168-018-0607-0
Microbiome 6/1 2019-04-18
2018 Andrew T. Crombie, Nasmille L. Larke-Mejia, Helen Emery, Robin Dawson, Jennifer Pratscher, Gordon P. Murphy, Terry J. McGenity, J. Colin Murrell
Poplar phyllosphere harbors disparate isoprene-degrading bacteria
published pages: 13081-13086, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1812668115
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115/51 2019-04-18

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