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Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences

Profile for Emeritus Professor Peter Bergquist

Research Interests

Peter Bergquist is one of the pioneers of cloning and expressing genes from extremely thermophilic organisms and other extremophiles and has published extensively on the diversity of culturable and unculturable thermophilic bacteria. His particular expertise is in gene cloning and expression, protein-nucleic acid interactions, the polymerase chain reaction and directed enzyme evolution.

He has developed the genomic walking PCR technique to allow the isolation of genes from culturable and unculturable microorganisms without the necessity of constructing gene libraries. His work on the multi-domain ‘megazymes’ with bifunctional catalytic activities from anaerobic extreme thermophiles has developed into a study of the specificity of the accompanying non-catalytic domains and their role in substrate binding. He has also developed novel methods for enzyme evolution that are conceptually different from others in the field.


Selected Publications

Emeritus Professor Bergquist has over 200 publications in refereed journals; 22 of which were published in the year 2005 to the present. Ten most significant publications in last 5 years are given below:

  1. A. Sunna, F. Chi and P. Bergquist.  Characterization of a linker peptide with high affinity for silica-containing materials. New Biotechnology, In Press, February 2013.
  2. L. Kautto, J. Grinyer, I. Paulsen, S. Tetu, A. Pillai, S. Pardivalla, U. Sezerman, G. Akcapinar, P. Bergquist, J. Te’o and H. Nevalainen . Protein quality control in Trichoderma reesei, an industrially-exploited cell factory. New Biotechnol, 30: 183-191, 2012
  3. B. C. Ferrari , T. Winsley, P. L. Bergquist and J. van Dorst.  Flow Cytometry in Environmental Microbiology: A rapid approach for the isolation of single-cells for advanced molecular biology analysis. Meth. Molecular Biol. 881: 3-26, 2012
  4. R. Ibanez-Peral, B. Ferrari and P. Bergquist.  Detection of environmental microorganisms with a bead-based assay and quantum dots. Internat. Jour. of Biomed. Nanosci.  Nanotechnol.  2: 75-95, 2011.
  5. M. D. Gibbs, R. A Reeves, P. R. Choudhary and P. L. Bergquist.. Alteration of the pH optimum of a family 11 xylanase, XynB6 of Dictyoglomus thermophilum. New Biotechnol. 27: 803-806, 2010.
  6. M. D. Gibbs, R. A. Reeves, P. R. Choudhary, R. M. Daniel and P. L. Bergquist. The activity of family 11 xylanases at alkaline pH. New Biotechnol. 27: 795-802, 2010.
  7. E. Hardiman, M. Gibbs, R. Reeves and P. Bergquist.  Directed Evolution of a thermophilic β-glucosidase for cellulosic bioethanol production.  Appl. Biochem. Biotech. 161: 301-312, 2010.
  8. M. D. Gibbs, R. A. Reeves, D. Mandelman, Q. Mi, J. Lee and P. L. Bergquist. Molecular diversity and catalytic activity of Thermus DNA polymerases. Extremophiles 13: 817-826, 2009.
  9. P. L. Bergquist, E. M. Hardiman, B. C. Ferrari and T. Winsley.  Applications of Flow Cytometry in Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology. Extremophiles 13: 389-401, 2009.
  10. 10.  L.B. Pinheiro, M. D Gibbs, G. Vesey, J. Smith and P. L. Bergquist. Fluorescent reference strains of bacteria by chromosomal integration of a modified Green Fluorescent Protein Gene. Appl. Microbiol. Biotech. 77: 1287-1295, 2008.


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Emeritus Professor


MSc (Hons) (NZ)
PhD (Auckland)
DSc (Auckland)