Yunnan is located in low latitude plateau with complex topography, which is a rich reservoir of microbial resources. This leads to the research topics of our group mainly focusing on the collection, biodiversity and applications of microorganisms grown in extreme environments of Yunnan province, especially in low and high temperature environments. In the research of microorganism with low temperature optima, most of our work is concentrated in the resource distributions, population diversity and structure of low temperature microorganisms (mainly in bacteria and their phages) grown in some specific niches such as glaciers and lakes in the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, as well as the adaptation mechanisms of these microorganisms to low temperatures, isolation and application of cold adapted enzymes, effects of microbial population succession on the population structure of the surrounding organisms. So far, more than 1,000 strains of low temperature bacteria (including actinomycetes) have been isolated and more than 20 bacteriophages have been primarily purified. Based on these, many low temperature enzymes and genes are further purified and identified, and some protein expression systems at low temperate are further established. In the research of microorganism with high temperature optima, our work mainly involves biodiversity, genomics, gene cloning and expression of thermopiles and their phages (viruses), with the aim to uncover the adaptation mechanisms and applications of these microorganisms in such high temperature niches. All these research will be helpful to understand how the microorganisms response to the changes in temperature.
Yunnan is well-known for her nonferrous metal resources and tobacco industry. We also start some research about the investigation and applications of microorganisms from mines. Various bacterial strains have been isolated, which will provide theoretical and practical basis for the development of biohydrometallurgy and environmental bioremediation of metal pollution. Furthermore, studies on the improvement of intrinsic quality of tobacco and the shortening of aging duration using Bio-enzyme preparations are being carried out.
Since establishment, our group has accomplished and been undertaking many research programs including 8 projects sponsored by Natural Science Foundation of China, 1 branch project of a “863” program, 3 projects supported by Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan province, 1 project of Culture Program for Reserve Talents of Middle-Young Aged Academic and Technology Leader of Yunnan Province, 1 key new product development project of Yunnan Province, 3 projects supported by Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources in Institute of Microbiology, and 6 projects related to development of Yunnan tobacco resource. The total research fund is over 14 million RMB, with an average of 2 million per year.
Based on our above-mentioned advantages, we have established long-term cooperation and collaboration with foreign famous universities and research institutes on research, especially in the application development of low temperature enzymes, establishment of high effective expression system, biodiversity of microorganisms, et al. Our group also cooperates with Hongta Tobacco Group Company Limited and establishes a “Joint Lab of Tobacco Bioresource Development and Application” to study the population succession of microorganisms in tobacco with aging duration and its correlation with intrinsic quality of tobacco, and effects of microbial enzyme preparations on the improvement of intrinsic quality, which expand effective methods for effective utilization of low quality tobacco. The establishment of this joint provides a good platform to the academic and application research in our group.
Yunlin Wei, Group leader, professor, Doctoral supervisor, graduated from Kyoto University in ?xml:namespace>Japan and received the Ph.D degree. Research interest: Psychrophiles and the arrangement and application of microorganism resources in tobaccos and mines. Tel：13888644139，Fax：0871-5920148，E-mail：email@example.com。
Lianbing Lin: professor, Research interest: Thermopiles and their adaptation mechanisms to high temperatures.
Qi Zhang: Lecturer, Ph.D, Research interest: Adaptation mechanisms of microorganism to low and high temperatures.
Xiuling Ji: Lecturer, Ph.D candidate, Research interest: Ecology of Psychrophiles and Resource Microbiology.