1983 …2020
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Personal profile


Bacterial respiration and bioenergetics

Denitrification and nitrous oxide emissions

Regulation and adaptive responses of bacterial regulatory networks

Bioenergetics of Mycobacteria; in search of novel drug targets

Microbial physiology

Systems Ecology

Bioremediation of contaminated soils; dioxins, oil and farmaceuticals

Microbial communities organization and function

Personal information

Short description of research experience and interests

Rob van Spanning is  Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Vrije Universiteit of  Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He holds a PhD in microbial physiology and molecular microbiology from the same university. His research interests are i) in understanding versatility and adaptive responses of bacterial respiration (from gene to function and back), and ii) in a fundamental understanding of make up and activity of microbial communities and their succession upon changes in their environment. For i) he studies the genetic and metabolic regulation, cellular organisation, function and biochemistry of a range of aerobic and anaerobic electron transport systems. He has ample experience in cloning, (homologous and heterologous) expression and in functional analyses of bacterial redox enzymes. For ii) he correlates microbial community make up to their function using different types of metagenomics analyses. He is skilled in i) a variety of genetic and analytical methods concerned with the functional characterization of enzymes (spectroscopy, reporter gene fusions, redox titrations, quinone/quinol extractions, kinetics of substrate consumption/product formation, purification, up to date general genetic and biochemical procedures), in ii) a variety of culturing techniques (batch, fed batch, chemostats, auxostats, retentostats), and in iii) fluorescence spectroscopy (fluorimeters, confocal microscopy).

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily


  • Microbial ecology
  • Metagenomics
  • Community profiling
  • Bioremediation
  • Bacterial fingerprinting
  • Mesocosms
  • Bacterial respiration
  • Denitrification
  • Nitrous oxide emissions
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Free energy transduction
  • Nitrification

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Rob van Spanning is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Paracoccus denitrificans Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitrite Reductases Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitrosomonas europaea Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitric Oxide Medicine & Life Sciences
Denitrification Medicine & Life Sciences
Genes Medicine & Life Sciences
Cytochromes Medicine & Life Sciences
Nitrites Medicine & Life Sciences

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Research Output 1983 2020

Comparison of landfarming amendments to improve bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in Niger Delta soils

Brown, D. M., Okoro, S., van Gils, J., van Spanning, R., Bonte, M., Hutchings, T., Linden, O., Egbuche, U., Bruun, K. B. & Smith, J. W. N., 15 Oct 2017, In : Science of the Total Environment. 596-597, p. 284-292 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
petroleum hydrocarbon

Sulfur cave (Romania), an extreme environment with microbial mats in a Co2-H2S/O2 gas chemocline dominated by mycobacteria

Sarbu, S. M., Aerts, J. W., Flot, J. F., van Spanning, R. J. M., Baciu, C., Ionescu, A., Kis, B. M., Incze, R., Siko-Barabasi, S., Para, Z., Hegyeli, B., Atudorei, N. V., Barr, C., Nealson, K. H., Forray, F. L., Lascu, C., Fleming, E. J., Bitter, W. & Popa, R., 1 Jan 2018, In : International Journal of Speleology. 47, 2, p. 173-187 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
microbial mat

Molecular genetics of the genus Paracoccus: metabolically versatile bacteria with bioenergetic flexibility

Baker, S. C., Ferguson, S. J., Ludwig, B., Page, M. D., Richter, O-MH. & van Spanning, R. J., Dec 1998, In : Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 62, 4, p. 1046-78 33 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Paracoccus denitrificans
Energy Metabolism
Molecular Biology
Electron Transport Complex IV

The cytochrome bd-type quinol oxidase is important for survival of Mycobacterium smegmatis under peroxide and antibiotic-induced stress.

Lu, P., Heineke, M. H., Koul, A., Andries, K., Cook, G. M., Lill, H., van Spanning, R. J. M. & Bald, D., 2015, In : Scientific Reports. 5, 10333.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Mycobacterium smegmatis
Anti-Bacterial Agents

The heme-copper oxidase family consists of three distinct types of terminal oxidases and is related to nitric oxide reductase

van der Oost, J., de Boer, A. P., de Gier, J-W., Zumft, W. G., Stouthamer, A. H. & van Spanning, R. J., 1 Aug 1994, In : FEMS Microbiology Letters. 121, 1, p. 1-9 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Electron Transport Complex IV