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How Waste Becomes a Resource

How Waste Becomes a Resource

Using fermentation and genomics, Victor Ujor helps microorganisms turn what’s useless into something useful.

Victor Ujor, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science, delves into the fascinating world of microorganisms. His research focus on harnessing the power of these tiny creatures to transform waste materials into valuable resources. Professor Ujor’s interest in microorganisms began when he read about Dr. David Ho’ groundbreaking work on HIV treatment using inhibitors. He studied microbiology and fermentation, eventually falling in love with understanding how microorganisms can benefit society.

Ujor now runs a campus lab that explores how molecular engineering and natural fermentation biology can convert waste products into biofuels, renewable chemicals, and sustainable materials.

By changing perspectives on waste, Ujor emphasizes the need to view waste as a resource. Excess plant materials like wheat straw, corn stover, and forest residues can be transformed. Sugars extracted from these materials can then fuel microbial fermentation to create valuable compounds.

In a world grappling with ecological challenges, Ujor’s work exemplifies how microorganisms can turn what seems useless into something truly valuable.

To learn more about how microbiological tools can convert waste into valuable products, check out these studies coauthored by Victor Ujor.

Online Further Reading

“Whole-genome Sequence and Fermentation Characteristics of Enterobacter hormaechei UW0SKVC1: A Promising Candidate for Detoxification of Lignocellulosic Biomass Hydrolysates and Production of Value-Added Chemicals,” by Santosh Kumar, Eric Agyeman-Duah, and Victor Ujor, in Bioengineering (September 2023)

“Ribozyme-mediated Downregulation Uncovers DNA Integrity Scanning Protein A (DisA) as a Solventogenesis Determinant in Clostridium beijerinckii,” by Victor Ujor, Lien B. Lai, Christopher Chukwudi Okonkwo, and Venkat Gopalan, in Frontiers in Bioenergy and Biotechnology (June 2021)

“Chromosomal Integration of Aldo-keto-reductase and Short-chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Genes in Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 Enhanced Tolerance to Lignocellulose-derived Microbial Inhibitory Compounds,” by Christopher Chukwudi Okonkwo, Victor Ujor, and Thaddeus Chukwuemeka Ezeji, in Scientific Reports (May 2019)