Peter Vandamme group

Research focus

The Peter Vandamme group studies basic and applied aspects of microbial diversity in human, insect, environmental and food microbiology. The group reported more than 30 novel bacterial genera and more than 210 novel bacterial species, many of which are unusual infectious agents in humans and animals. For his contributions to prokaryotic taxonomy, P. Vandamme was given the WFCC Skerman Award for Microbial Taxonomy and the Bergey Award. Peter Vandamme is also director of the BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, which is an ISO9001 certified Biological Resource center that acquires, controls, preserves, stores, and distributes biological material and associated information, in the frame of public deposits, safe deposits and patent deposits. Among his key technological interests are the large scale cultivation, dereplication (i.e. the selection of genetically unique strains) and identification of microbial isolates for which a high-throughput infrastructure is available.

In collaboration with international colleagues the group revealed an unexpected and large diversity of respiratory infections in persons with cystic fibrosis and provides identification and typing services as part of the Belgian National Reference Center for Human Microbiology for Burkholderia cepacia complex and other Gram-negative bacteria. The group has a Burkholderia strain collection of more than 6000 isolates and examines its potential for the production of secondary metabolites with antibacterial activity.

The Peter Vandamme group also analyses the gut microbiota of pollinator (bumblebees and solitary bees) and pest (fruit flies) insects in order to unravel their detailed microbiota compositions, isolate their members, and to study and exploit their functions. Similarly, the Peter Vandamme group has a pronounced interest in the microbiota of fermented food products. Recent research topics include cocoa, sourdough, beers of spontaneous fermentation, water kefir and kombucha.

Key publications

P. Vandamme, B. Pot, M. Gillis, P. De Vos, K. Kersters, and J. Swings. 1996. Polyphasic taxonomy, a consensus approach to bacterial systematics. Microb. Rev. 60:407-438.

T. Coenye and P. Vandamme. 2003. Diversity and significance of Burkholderia species occupying diverse ecological niches. Environ. Microbiol. 5:719-729.

J. Goris, K. T. Konstantinidis, J. A. Klappenbach, T. Coenye, P. Vandamme, and J. M. Tiedje. 2007. DNA-DNA hybridization values and their relationship to whole genome sequence similarities. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 57:81-91.

M. Joossens, G. Huys, M. Cnockaert, V. De Preter, K. Verbeke, P. Rutgeerts, P. Vandamme and S. Vermeire. 2011. Dysbiosis of the fecal microbiota in Crohn’s disease patients and their unaffected relatives. Gut 60:631-37.

F. Spitaels, A. D. Wieme, M. Janssens, M. Aerts, H.-M. Daniel, A. Van Landschoot, L. De Vuyst and P. Vandamme. 2014. The microbial diversity of traditional spontaneously fermented lambic beer. Plos ONE 9:e95384.

J. Praet, A. Parmentier, R. Schmid-Hempel, I. Meeus, G. Smagghe, and P. Vandamme. 2018. Large-scale cultivation of the bumblebee gut microbiota reveals an underestimated bacterial species diversity capable of pathogen inhibition. Environm. Microbiol. 20, 214-227 (IF2016 5.395 Q1 18/125).

All publications of Peter Vandamme