Portrait of Dr Gary Robinson

Dr Gary Robinson

Senior Lecturer in Microbial Technology
Senior Commercialisation Manager


Dr Gary Robinson is a Senior Lecturer in Microbial Technology within the School of Biosciences and Director of Innovation & Enterprise (0.5 FTE) and is the Senior Commercialisation Manager of the University (O.5 FTE).
Gary has been a lecturer since the 90's and has worked in the field of applied microbiology covering areas as diverse as microbial transformations for the production of high value-added compounds such as drugs and fragrances to the biocontrol of the housefly, Musca domestica. Current research has focused on the understanding and application of quorum sensing within complex microbial systems, the use of biocatalysts within the paper industry and the large scale production of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. All projects undertaken with MSc and PhD students funded by the University, EU and Industry. Gary has worked with a variety of small and large companies including Pfizer, Smith Kline Beecham, Quest international, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Whatman and Genzyme. Dr Robinson has extensive experience of measuring (trace) analytes from the (bio)pharmaceutical (eg proteins, peptides and drug metabolites) and environmental (eg PCBs, PAHs, volatiles) sectors as well as the enumeration and identification of a wide variety of microbial species (bacterial and fungal) in a diversity of matrices (soil, sediment, food, beverage and clinical).



  • Caujolle, S. et al. (2017). Speckle variance OCT for depth resolved assessment of the viability of bovine embryos. Biomedical Optics Express [Online] 8:5139-5150. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/BOE.8.005139.
    The morphology of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF) is commonly used to estimate their viability. However, imaging by standard microscopy is subjective and unable to assess the embryo on a cellular scale after compaction. Optical coherence tomography is an imaging technique that can produce a depth-resolved profile of a sample and can be coupled with speckle variance (SV) to detect motion on a micron scale. In this study, day 7 post-IVF bovine embryos were observed either short-term (10 minutes) or longterm (over 18 hours) and analyzed by swept source OCT and SV to resolve their depth profile and characterize micron-scale movements potentially associated with viability. The percentage of en face images showing movement at any given time was calculated as a method to detect the vital status of the embryo. This method could be used to measure the levels of damage sustained by an embryo, for example after cryopreservation, in a rapid and non-invasive way.
  • Gulbis, N., Robinson-Boyer, L. and Robinson, G. (2013). Studying the microbiome of AMF cultivated in vitro. Aspects of Applied Biology (Positive Plant Microbial Interactions: Their role in maintaining sustainable and natural ecosystems) 120:71-76.
  • Akowuah, E. et al. (2012). Numerical analysis of a photonic crystal fiber for biosensing applications. Journal of Quantum Electronics [Online] 48:1403-1410. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JQE.2012.2213803.
    his paper presents a theoretical study on a photonic crystal fiber (PCF) surface plasmon resonance biosensor. The proposed PCF sensor introduces the concept of simultaneous detection with H E11x and H E11x modes, which opens up some possibilities for multianalyte/multichannel sensing. Analysis was performed which considered the operation of the sensor in both amplitude and wavelength interrogation modes. Typical sensor resolutions of 4×10-5 RIU and 8×10-5 RIU with respect to H E11x and H E11y, respectively, are reported for the amplitude interrogation mode, while resolutions of 5 × 10-5 RIU and 6×10-5 RIU are reported for H E11x and H E11y, respectively, for the wavelength interrogation mode.
  • Piletska, E. et al. (2011). Passive Control of Quorum Sensing: Prevention ofPseudomonas aeruginosaBiofilm Formation by Imprinted Polymers. Biomacromolecules [Online] 12:1067-1071. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm101410q.
    Here we present the first molecular imprinted polymer (MIP) that is able to attenuate the biofilm formation of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa through specific sequestration of its signal molecule N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-l-homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C12-AHL). The MIP was rationally designed using computational modeling, and its capacity and specificity and that of a corresponding blank polymer toward signal molecule of P. aeruginosa (3-oxo-C12-AHL) and its analogue were tested. The biofilm formation in the presence of polymers and without polymers was studied using scanning confocal laser microscopy. Staining with crystal violet dye was used for the quantification of the biofilm formation. A significant reduction of the biofilm growth was observed in the presence of MIP (>80%), which was superior to that of the resin prepared without template, which showed a reduction of 40% in comparison with biofilm, which was grown without polymer addition. It was shown that 3-oxo-C12-AHL-specific MIP prevented the development of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes (in this case, biofilm formation) from being up-regulated. The developed MIP could be considered as a new tool for the elimination of life-threatening infections in a multitude of practical applications; it could, for example, be grafted on the surface of medical devices such as catheters and lenses, be a component of paints, or be used as a wound adsorbent.
  • Hall, R. et al. (2010). CO(2) acts as a signalling molecule in populations of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. PLoS Pathogens [Online] 6:e1001193. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1001193.
    When colonising host-niches or non-animated medical devices, individual cells of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans expand into significant biomasses. Here we show that within such biomasses, fungal metabolically generated CO(2) acts as a communication molecule promoting the switch from yeast to filamentous growth essential for C. albicans pathology. We find that CO(2)-mediated intra-colony signalling involves the adenylyl cyclase protein (Cyr1p), a multi-sensor recently found to coordinate fungal responses to serum and bacterial peptidoglycan. We further identify Lys 1373 as essential for CO(2)/bicarbonate regulation of Cyr1p. Disruption of the CO(2)/bicarbonate receptor-site interferes selectively with C. albicans filamentation within fungal biomasses. Comparisons between the Drosophila melanogaster infection model and the mouse model of disseminated candidiasis, suggest that metabolic CO(2) sensing may be important for initial colonisation and epithelial invasion. Our results reveal the existence of a gaseous Candida signalling pathway and its molecular mechanism and provide insights into an evolutionary conserved CO(2)-signalling system.
  • Piletska, E. et al. (2010). Attenuation of Vibrio fischeri Quorum Sensing Using Rationally Designed Polymers. Biomacromolecules [Online] 11:975-980. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm901451j.
    A first attempt to attenuate the quorum sensing (QS) of a marine heterotroph microorganism, Vibrio fischeri, using signal molecule-sequestering polymers (SSPs) is presented. A set of rationally designed polymers with affinity toward a signal molecule of V. fischeri, N-(β-ketocaproyl)-l-homoserine lactone (3-oxo-C6-AHL) was produced. It is reported that computationally designed polymers could sequester a signal molecule of V. fischeri and prevent QS-controlled phenotypes (in this case, bioluminescence) from being up-regulated. It was proven that the attenuation of bioluminescence of V. fischeri was due to sequestration of the signal molecule by specific polymers and not due to the toxicity of polymer or nonspecific depletion of nutrients. The ability to disrupt the bacterial communication using easy to synthesize and chemically inert polymers could provide a new concept for the development of pharmaceuticals and susceptible device coatings such as catheters.
  • Ilori, M., Robinson, G. and Adebusoye, S. (2008). Aerobic mineralization of 4,4 '-dichlorobiphenyl and 4-chlorobenzoic acid by a novel natural bacterial strain that grows poorly on benzoate and biphenyl. World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology [Online] 24:1259-1265. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11274-007-9597-y.
    Achromobacter xylosoxidans strain IR08 was isolated from soil contaminated with electrical transformer fluid by enrichment culture containing Aroclor 1221 as the sole carbon source. This strain was found to grow on all monochlorobiphenyls, 4,4'-dichlorobiphenyl (4,4'-diCB) and a wide range of other xenobiotic compounds. During growth on 4,4'-diCB, a near-stoichiometric amount of chloride was excreted into the culture fluid in less than 5 days and growth yield was more than twice that achieved on biphenyl. The production of 4-CBA or chlorocatechol as a metabolite was not observed. Quite unusually, coincubation of strain IR08 with 4,4'-diCB and biphenyl at relatively equal concentrations showed preferential utilization of the chlorobiphenyl: 4,4'-diCB was mineralized in less than 5 days concomitant with stoichiometric release of chloride, while biphenyl was poorly degraded. Growth on 2.5 mM CBA also resulted in complete disappearance of the substrate, however, inorganic chloride recovered from the culture broth was less than 65%. The isolation of a dichlorobiphenyl-mineralizing rather than transformation strain such as IR08 is an important advance in an effort to develop effective bioremediation strategy for polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated soil.
  • Ilori, M., Robinson, G. and Adebusoye, S. (2008). Degradation and mineralization of 2-chloro-, 3-chloro- and 4-chlorobiphenyl by a newly characterized natural bacterial strain isolated from an electrical transformer fluid-contaminated soil. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China 20:1250-1257.
    A bacterium classified as Achromobacter xylosoxidans strain IR08 by phenotypic typing coupled with 16S rRNA gene analysis was isolated from a soil contaminated with electrical transformer fluid for over sixty years using Aroclor 1221 as an enrichment substrate. The substrate utilization profiles revealed that IR08 could grow on all three monochlorobiphenyls (CBs), 2,4'- and 4,4'-dichlorobiphenyl as well as 2-chlorobenzoate (2-CBA), 3-CBA, 4-CBA, and 2,3-dichlorobenzoate. Unusually, growth was poorly sustained on biphenyl and benzoate. In growth experiments, IR08 degraded all CBS (0.27 mmol/L) in less than 96 h with concomitant stoichiometric release of inorganic chloride and growth yields were 2-3 times higher than those observed on biphenyl. In contrast to most of the chlorobiphenyl-degrading strains described in the literature, which are reported to form CBA, no metabolite was identified in the culture broth by HPLC analysis. When co-incubated with respective CBs and biphenyl, strain IR08 preferentially utilized the chlorinated analogues in less than 96 h while it took another 264 h before 90% of the initially supplied biphenyl could be degraded. The promotion of co-metabolic transformation of halogenated substrates by the inclusion of their non-halogenated derivatives may not therefore, result in universal benefits.
  • Weeks, M. et al. (2006). Monitoring changes in nisin susceptibility of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A as an indicator of growth phase using FACS. Journal of Microbiological Methods [Online] 66:43-55. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2005.10.008.
    Listeria monocytogenes has previously been shown to adapt to a wide variety of environmental niches, principally those associated with low pH, and this compromises its control in food environments. An understanding of the mechanism(s) by which L. monocytogenes survives unfavourable environmental conditions will aid in developing new food processing methods to control the organism in foodstuffs. The present Study aimed to gain a further understanding of the physiological basis for the differential effects of one control strategy, namely the use of the lantibiotic nisin. Using propidium iodide (PI) to probe membrane integrity it was shown that L. monocytogenes Scott A was sensitive to nisin (8 ng mL(-1)) but this was growth phase dependent with stationary phase cells (OD600=1.2) being much more resistant than exponential phase cells (OD600=0.38). We demonstrate that, using a combination of techniques including fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), the membrane adaptations underpinning nisin resistance are triggered much earlier (OD600 < 0.5) than the onset of stationary phase. The significance of these findings in terms of mechanism and application are discussed.
  • Verdin, A. et al. (2005). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons storage by Fusarium solani in intracellular lipid vesicles. Environmental Pollution [Online] 133:283-291. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2004.05.040.
    Accumulation and elimination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were studied in the fungus Fusarium solani. When the fungus was grown on a synthetic medium containing benzo[a]pyrene, hyphae of F. solani contained numerous lipid vesicles which could be stained by the lipid-specific dyes: Sudan III and Rhodamine B. The fluorescence produced by Rhodamine B and PAH benzo[a]pyrene were at the same locations in the fungal hyphae, indicating that F. solani stored PAH in pre-existing lipid vesicles. A passive temperature-independent process is involved in the benzo[a]pyrene uptake and storage. Sodium azide, a cytochrome c oxidation inhibitor, and the two cytoskeleton inhibitors colchicine and cytochalasin did not prevent the transport and accumulation of PAH in lipid vesicles of F. solani hyphae. F. solani degraded a large range of PAHs at different rates. PAH intracellular storage in lipid vesicles was not necessarily accompanied by degradation and was common to numerous other fungi.
  • Weeks, M. et al. (2004). Global changes in gene expression observed at the transition from growth to stationary phase in Listeria monocytogenes ScottA batch culture. Proteomics [Online] 4:123-135. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=14730677.
    Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne Gram-positive bacterium that is responsible for a variety of infections (worldwide) annually. The organism is able to survive a variety of environmental conditions and stresses, however, the mechanisms by which L. monocytogenes adapts to environmental change are yet to be fully elucidated. An understanding of the mechanism(s) by which L. monocytogenes survives unfavourable environmental conditions will aid in developing new food processing methods to control the organism in foodstuffs. We have utilized a proteomic approach to investigate the response of L. monocytogenes batch cultures to the transition from exponential to stationary growth phase. Proteomic analysis showed that batch cultures of L. monocytogenes perceived stress and began preparations for stationary phase much earlier (approximately A(600) = 0.75, mid-exponential) than predicted by growth characteristics alone. Global analysis of the proteome revealed that the expression levels of more than 50% of all proteins observed changed significantly over a 7-9 h period during this transition phase. We have highlighted ten proteins in particular whose expression levels appear to be important in the early onset of the stationary phase. The significance of these findings in terms of functionality and the mechanistic picture are discussed.
  • Radianingtyas, H., Robinson, G. and Bull, A. (2003). Characterization of a soil-derived bacterial consortium degrading 4-chloroaniline. Microbiology [Online] 149:3279-3287. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.26303-0.
    A bacterial consortium comprising four different species was isolated from an Indonesian agricultural soil using a mixture of aniline and 4-chloroaniline (4CA) as principal carbon sources. The four species were identified as Chryseobacterium indologenes SB1, Comamonas testosteroni SB2, Pseudomonas corrugata SB4 and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia SB5. Growth studies on aniline and 4CA as single and mixed substrates demonstrated that the bacteria preferred to grow on and utilize aniline rather than 4CA, although both compounds were eventually depleted from the culture supernatant. However, despite 100 % disappearance of the parent substrates, the degradation of 4CA was always characterized by incomplete dechlorination and 4-chlorocatechol accumulation. This result suggests that further degradation of 4-chlorocatechol may be the rate-limiting step in the metabolism of 4CA by the bacterial consortium. HPLC-UV analysis showed that 4-chlorocatechol was further degraded via an ortho-cleavage pathway by the bacterial consortium. This hypothesis was supported by the results from enzyme assays of the crude cell extract of the consortium revealing catechol 1,2-dioxygenase activity which converted catechol and 4-chlorocatechol to cis,cis-muconic acid and 3-chloro-cis,cis-muconic acid respectively. However, the enzyme had a much higher conversion rate for catechol [156 U (g protein)(-1)] than for 4-chlorocatechol [17.2 U (g protein)(-1)], indicating preference for non-chlorinated substrates. Members of the bacterial consortium were also characterized individually. All isolates were able to assimilate aniline. P. corrugata SB4 was able to grow on 4CA solely, while S. maltophilia SB5 was able to grow on 4-chlorocatechol. These results suggest that the degradation of 4CA in the presence of aniline by the bacterial consortium was a result of interspecies interactions.
  • Radianingtyas, H., Robinson, G. and Bull, A. (2003). Bacterial community structure and physiological state in a biofilm reactor degrading 4-chloroaniline. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 62:423-429.
    Degradation of 4-chloroaniline in the presence of aniline by a microbial community in a laboratory-scale biofilm reactor was evaluated. The starter inoculum was isolated and reconstructed from a percolating column enrichment of Indonesian agricultural soil. The capacity to mineralise and detoxify 4-chloroaniline in the presence of aniline was demonstrated by the biofilm reactor when operated at high hydraulic retention time (HRT; 0.87 h). At low HRT (0.23 h and 0.39 h) 4-chlorocatechol accumulated in the effluent, accompanied by a decrease in dechlorination and detoxification. When returned to high HRT (2.14 h), the accumulation of 4-chlorocatechol stopped and the extent of dechlorination and detoxification increased. Bacteria other than the original inoculum appeared in the reactor when the operating mode was switched from closed cycle to open cycle. One of these bacteria, identified as Pseudomonas putida RI by partial 16S rDNA sequencing, subsequently dominated the reactor at every HRT imposed. PCR-based single-strand conformational polymorphism of 16 s rDNA and traditional cultivation procedures indicated that the bacterial composition in the reactor shifted in response to applied HRT. The relationship between the bacterial abundance and the degradation capacity of the reactor is discussed.
  • Klappa, P. et al. (2001). The pancreas-specific protein disulphide-isomerase PDIp interacts with a hydroxyaryl group in ligands. Biochemical Journal [Online] 354:553-559. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/0264-6021:3540553.
    Using a cross-linking approach, we have recently demonstrated that radiolabelled model peptides or misfolded proteins specifically interact in vitro with two members of the protein disulphide- isomerase family, namely PDI and PDIp, in a crude extract from sheep pancreas microsomes. In addition, we have shown that tyrosine and tryptophan residues within a peptide are the recognition motifs for the binding to PDIp. Here we examine non-peptide ligands and present evidence that a hydroxyaryl group is a structural motif for the binding to PDIp; simple constructs containing this group and certain xenobiotics and phytoestrogens, which contain an unmodified hydroxyaryl group, can all efficiently inhibit peptide binding to PDIp. To our knowledge this is the first time that the recognition motif of a molecular chaperone or folding catalyst has been specified as a simple chemical structure.
  • Ilori, M., Amund, D. and Robinson, G. (2000). Ultrastructure of two oil-degrading bacteria isolated from the tropical soil environment. Folia Microbiologica [Online] 45:259-262. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02908956.
    Two oil-degrading bacteria identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Micrococcus luteus were isolated From crude-oil-polluted soils in Nigeria. The organisms were grown on n-hexadecane and sodium succinate: and then examined For the presence of hydrocarbon inclusions. Inclusion bodies were found in n-hexadecane-grown cells and were absent in succinate-grown cells. Formation of hydrocarbon inclusion bodies appears to be a general phenomenon among hydrocarbon utilizers.
  • Jackman, S., Knowles, C. and Robinson, G. (1999). SACRED - A novel catalytic process for the environmental remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS). Chemosphere [Online] 38:1889-1900. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0045-6535(98)00403-2.
    The catalytic degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has been studied in aqueous media and contaminated soils. A novel SAmarium Catalyzed REDuctive dechlorination (SACRED) is demonstrated which is able to operate in a short timescale under mild conditions (ambient temperature; inert atmosphere) and with low energy requirements. Samarium (II) iodide, in the presence of hexamethylphosphoramide in tetrahydrofuran, catalyses hydrogenolytic dechlorination of highly chlorinated PCBs, generating biphenyl, mono- and dichlorinated biphenyls from Aroclor 1242. Catalysis is also effective in co-contaminated soils containing various PCBs and in the presence of up to 5 % (w/w) moisture. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Bull, A., Bunch, A. and Robinson, G. (1999). Biocatalysts for clean industrial products and processes. Current Opinion in Microbiology [Online] 2:246-251. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1369-5274(99)80043-5.
    Biocatalysis inherently offers the prospect of clean industrial processing and has become an accepted technology throughout most sectors. The convergence of biology and chemistry has enabled a plethora of industrial opportunities to be targeted, while discoveries in biodiversity and the impact of molecular biology and computational science are extending the range of natural and engineered biocatalysts that can be customised for clean industrial requirements.
  • Simmonds, J. and Robinson, G. (1998). Formation of benzaldehyde by Pseudomonas putida ATCC 12633. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology [Online] 50:353-358. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002530051303.
    Aromatic and heterocyclic aldehydes may be produced by the mandelate pathway of Pseudomonas putida ATCC 12633 via the biotransformation of benzoyl formate and substrate analogues. Under optimised biotransformation conditions (37 degrees C, pH 5.4) and with benzoyl formate as a substrate, benzaldehyde may be accumulated with yields above 85%. Benzaldehyde is toxic to P. putida ATCC 12633; levels above 0.5 g/l (5 mM) reduce the biotransformation activity. Total activity loss occurs at an aldehyde concentration of 2.1 g/l (20 mM). To overcome this limitation, the rapid removal of the aldehyde is desirable via in situ product removal. The biotransformation of benzoyl formate (working volume 1 l) without in situ product removal accumulates 2.1 g/l benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde removal by gas stripping produces a total of 3.5 g/l before inhibition. However, the most efficient method is solid-phase adsorption using activated charcoal as the sorbant, this allows the production of over 4.1 g/l benzaldehyde. Addition of bisulphite as a complexing agent causes inhibition of the biotransformation and bisulphite is therefore is not suitable for in situ product removal.
  • Simmonds, J. and Robinson, G. (1997). Novel biotransformations to produce aromatic and heterocyclic aldehydes. Enzyme and Microbial Technology [Online] 21:367-374. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0141-0229(97)86532-5.
    Aromatic aldehydes may be produced by Pseudomonas putida ATCC 12633 via biotransformation of benzoylformate and substrate analogues using the mandelic acid pathway. A reduction in pH to 5.4 causes the partial inactivation of the benzaldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzymes within this pathway, thereby allowing the accumulation of the aldehyde. The reduction in dehydrogenase activity with pH is a general phenomenon affecting all dehydrogenases within the cell and is not restricted to the benzaldehyde dehydrogenases of the mandelate pathway. Both benzaldehyde and thiophene-2-carboxaldehyde have been produced with yields of over 85%. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Inc.
  • Walters, M. and Robinson, G. (1997). Environmental biotechnology: Monitoring, mobilizing and mineralizing pollution. Trends in Biotechnology [Online] 15:280-282. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-7799(97)01072-X.
  • Lenn, M. et al. (1996). Microbial degradation of PCBS by a two-stage process MooYoung, M., Anderson, W. A. and Chakrabarty, A. M. eds. Environmental Biotechnology: Principles and Applications:382-394.
    There is considerable interest in the development of biological processes for PCB degradation. However, a consideration must be made for the effects of the accumulation of toxic intermediates on process design, and on release to the environment. Chlorobenzoates are the most noted intermediates of aerobic PCB degradation. Three hybrid bacterial strains have been constructed and shown to be able to utilise all of the monochlorobiphenyls as the sole source of carbon. Chloride was released in stoichiometric concentrations, suggesting that complete mineralisation had occurred. One of the strains, Pseudomonas cepacia JHR22, has been shown to be able to utilise 2, 3 and 4 mono-, and 2,4 and 3,5 dichlorobenzoate as carbon source. However, utilisation of chlorobiphenyls or chlorobenzoates was inhibited in the presence of 2,3 or 3,4 dichlorobenzoate. Preliminary data indicates that mixed cultures of the three hybrid strains are able to degrade most of the congeners present in Aroclor 1221, although the extent of mineralisation has not yet been established.
  • Stratford, J. et al. (1996). Influence of chlorobenzoates on the utilisation of chlorobiphenyls and chlorobenzoate mixtures by chlorobiphenyl/chlorobenzoate-mineralising hybrid bacterial strains. Archives of Microbiology 165:213-218.
    Chlorobenzoates (CBA) arise as intermediates during the degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and some chlorinated herbicides. Since PCBs were produced as complex mixtures, a range of mono-, di-, and possibly trichloro-substituted benzoates would be formed. Chlorobenzoate degradation has been proposed to be one of the rate-limiting steps in the overall PCB-degradation process. Three hybrid bacteria constructed to have the ability to completely mineralise 2-, 3-, or 4-monochlorobiphenyl respectively, have been studied toestablish the range of mono- and diCBAs that can be utilised. The three strains were able to mineralise one or more of the following CBAs: 2-, 3-, and 4-monochlorobenzoate and 3,5-dichlorobenzoate. No utilisation of 2,3-, 2,5-, 2,6-, or 3,4-diCBA was observed, and only a low concentration (0.11 mM) of 2,4-diCBA was mineralised. When the strain with the widest substrate range (Burkholderia cepacia JHR22) was simultaneously supplied with two CBAs, one that it could utilise plus one that it was unable to utilise, inhibitory effects were observed. The utilisation of 2-CBA (2.5 mM) by this strain was inhibited by 2,3-CBA (200 mu M) and 3,4-CBA (50 mu M). Although 2,5-CBA and 2,6-CBA were not utilised as carbon sources by strain JHR22, they did not inhibit 2-CBA utilisation at the concentrations studied, whereas 2,4-CBA was co-metabolised with 2-CBA. The utilisation of 2-, 3-, and 4-chlorobiphenyl by strain JHR22 was also inhibited by the presence of 2,3- or 3,4-diCBA. We conclude that the effect of the formation of toxic intermediates is an important consideration when designing remediation strategies.
  • Wright, M. et al. (1996). The dechlorination and degradation of aroclor 1242. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation [Online] 38:61-67. Available at: http:dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0964-8305(96)00026-1.
    Titanocene dichloride, in conjunction with sodium borohydride and pyridine, was shown to dechlorinate Aroclor 1242 to give biphenyl. This was observed as a shift in the congener profile from more heavily chlorinated congeners to the lower chlorinated congeners over the time course of the reaction. The dechlorination process resulted in a transient increase in concentration of the monochlorinated biphenyls, particularly 3-chlorobiphenyl. Dechlorination in the presence of alternative amines or in PCB-contaminated soils proceeded at reduced rates and yielded mono- and dichlorobiphenyls in the final product. Since three hybrid bacteria had previously been produced for the mineralisation of biphenyl and lower chlorinated biphenyls, chemical dechlorination of the PCB mixture (Aroclor 1242) or of contaminated soils produces a potential feed for an aerobic microbial process for complete chlorobiphenyl mineralisation. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Limited
  • Robinson, G. et al. (1994). An Investigation into the Factors Influencing Lipase-Catalyzed Intramolecular Lactonization Microaqueous Systems. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 16:855-863.
    Factors affecting the enzymatic intramolecular lactonization of 16-hydroxyhexadecanoic acid are presented. A screen of 33 enzymes, predominantly lipases, showed chat only a proportion were able to catalyze the synthetic reaction in a microaqueous environment Certain of these enzymes showed no observable formation of the oligolactones by the favored intermolecular esterification reaction, as reported by other workers. Indeed, the immobilized lipase from Candida antarctica showed formation of the intramolecular monolactone product, hexadecanolide, which could be produced continuously for 55 hs. Many variables were considered, including the choice of enzyme (source and preformulation), substrate concentration, product concentration solvent, temperature, pH, and water content of the system. The effect of these variables on hexadecanolide yield was analyzed statistically using a Plackett-Burman matrix. Significant effects were only demonstrated for the product hexadecanolide (stimulatory) and the substrate 16-hydroxyhexadecanoic acid (inhibitory).

Book section

  • Akowuah, E. et al. (2012). A Novel Compact Photonic Crystal Fibre Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensor for an Aqueous Environment. in: Massaro, A. ed. Photonic Crystals - Innovative Systems, Lasers and Waveguides. InTech. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/35034.

Conference or workshop item

  • Carr, H. et al. (2018). Communicating Research: From Idea to Impact. in: Maximise Your Research Impact 2018.
    Four presentations all delivered as part of the 'Communicating Research' panel at the 2018 Maximise Your Research Impact Conference:

    1. Embedding communication in my work / Professor Helen Carr

    2. The Office for Scholarly Communication / Sarah Slowe

    3. Collaborating with industry (the outside): Academic TT view! / Dr Gary Robinson

    4. Working with the Media / Gary Hughes
  • Caujolle, S. et al. (2018). Assessing embryo development using swept source optical coherence tomography. in: Podoleanu, A. G. H. and Bang, O. eds. Second Canterbury Conference on Optical Coherence Tomography, 2017, Canterbury, United Kingdom. SPIE, p. . Available at: https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2282912.
    A detailed assessment of embryo development would assist biologists with selecting the most suitable embryos for transfer leading to higher pregnancy rates. Currently, only low resolution microscopy is employed to perform this assessment. Although this method delivers some information on the embryo surface morphology, no specific details are shown related to its inner structure. Using a Master-Slave Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography (SS-OCT), images of bovine embryos from day 7 after fertilization were collected from different depths. The dynamic changes inside the embryos were examined, in detail and in real-time from several depths. To prove our ability to characterize the morphology, a single embryo was imaged over 26 hours. The embryo was deprived of its life support environment, leading to its death. Over this period, clear morphological changes were observed.
  • Alston, M., Robinson, G. and Johnson, C. (2003). Colour merging for the visualization of biomolecular sequence data. in: Banissi, E. et al. eds. 7th International Conference on Information Visualization (IV 2003). IEEE COMPUTER SOC, 10662 LOS VAQUEROS CIRCLE, PO BOX 3014, LOS ALAMITOS, CA 90720-1264 USA, pp. 169-175. Available at: http://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/pubs/2003/1706.
    This paper introduces a novel technique for the visualization of data at various levels of detail. This is based on a colour-based representation of the data, where ``high level'' views of the data are obtained by merging colours together to obtain a summary-colour which represents a number of data-points. This is applied to the problem of visualizing biomolecular sequence data and picking out features in such data at various scales.
  • Robinson, G. (1998). (Bio)remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): problems, perspectives and solutions. in: Colloquium on Xenobiotic Pollution and Recovery by Natural Systems - The Biosphere Strikes Back. London, England: Portland Press, London, England, pp. 686-690.


  • Robinson, G. (2008). Polymer Inhibitors of Quorum Sensing. [Online]. Available at: http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=WO&NR=2008087454A2&KC=A2&FT=D&ND=3&date=20080724&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP.
    This invention relates to polymer inhibitors of quorum sensing, methods for their preparation and use of such polymers in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections and in the manufacture of shaped articles having an increased resistance to bacterial infections.
  • Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2007). Proteins Involved In Quorum Sensing. [Online]. Available at: http://v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=US2007298032&F=0.
  • Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2007). Proteins involved in signal transduction. [Online]. Available at: http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=US&NR=2007264715A1&KC=A1&FT=D&ND=4&date=20071115&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP.
    The method relates to a method of modulating quorum sensing in bacteria. Quorum sensing is inhibited using peptide hydrolases. This inhibition is used to prevent biofilm formation or to break down established biofilms and may also be used to downregulate the production of virulence determinants by pathogenic bacteria. The invention also relates to the use of peptide hydrolase inhibitors for the upregulation of quorum sensing in bacteria, resulting in the overproduction of proteins and the use of this system as an expression system.
  • Robinson, G. and Rising, H. (2005). Proteins Involved in signal transduction. [Online]. Available at: http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=WO&NR=2005047514A1&KC=A1&FT=D&ND=3&date=20050526&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP.
    The method relates to a method of modulating quorum sensing in bacteria. Quorum sensing is inhibited using peptide hydrolases. This inhibition is used to prevent biofilm formation or to break down established biofilms and may also be used to downregulate the production of virulence determinants by pathogenic bacteria. The invention also relates to the use of peptide hydrolase inhibitors for the upregulation of quorum sensing in bacteria, resulting in the overproduction of proteins and the use of this system as an expression system.