NWO-funding for Dr. Herwig Bachmann’s evolutionary technology with microbes

April 20, 2023

Dr. Herwig Bachmann’s innovative system, Evogold, has received funding from the Open Technology Programme (OTP), by the NWO, to further the innovation of experimental evolution or the purposeful growing of microbial populations. The use of microbes plays a major role in food, biotechnological, and medical industries. The innovative system will make new applications possible, such as in the process of making bread and the carbonation of soft drinks.


Dr. Bachmann, his research team, and a consortium of industrial partners, are focusing on the evolution of microbes for the development of the innovative system called Evogold. Microbial populations, such as bacteria and yeasts, grow rapidly. The replicating microbes constantly mutate and evolve. It’s these mutating populations that show a set of diverse qualities, called the phenotype, which can be exploited for different applications.

Evogold is being developed as a system of experimental evolution, to breed and select microbes with beneficial properties. The innovative system is significantly less time consuming than the technologies available today. Moreover, the system is scalable, and allows to select for an entirely new range of phenotypes.

Improved applications

The targeted use of microbes will increase both the efficiency as well as the sustainability of biotechnological, pharmaceutical/medical, and food industrial applications. Good examples are the selection of yeasts used for the leavening of dough, and the improvement of carbonated soft drinks with gas produced by bacteria.

The Open Technology Programme

Dr. Bachmann and his team will use the funding from the Open Technology Programme by the NWO, to further develop this innovative system. The OTP funding is an accessible way for companies to become involved in application-oriented research, as is also the case for Evogold. Together with Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA), Dr. Bachmann is investigating the possible filing of a patent after which the industrial partners in the OTP-consortium can help to make the technology commercially available.

Image, credits with Dr. Bachmann: Two carbon dioxide producing microbe samples. Carbon dioxide production is a relevant trait for industrial applications such as carbonated drinks and dough leavening.