offers innovation in the use of non-model microbes for new biocatalysts and renewable products.


offers innovation in the use of non-model microbes for new biocatalysts and renewable products.


Help us herald in a carbon-negative society. Every carbon dioxide (CO2) molecule released to the atmosphere remains aloft for 250 years. Unless we act aggressively to trap CO2 and switch to renewable technologies, global warming will disrupt our climate, reduce food production, and threaten our fresh water supplies for generations to come. As experts in energy and microbiology, we specialize in technology to turn non-food feedstocks into clean-burning hydrogen, biogas, ethanol, hydrocarbons, and value-added co-products. Work with us to ensure the Earth we leave to our children is cleaner and healthier than the Earth we have today.








Molecular Trait Evolution (MTE), LLC is a biotechnology company that specializes in microbial strain enhancement and optimization. MTE provides project consulting, contractual and fee-for-service strain evolution and engineering. MTE designs natural or synthetic consortia and devises solutions for complex biological systems. Platforms include bacteria (E. coli), archaea (including methane-producing archaea), strict anaerobes, cyanobacteria, and yeast


• Consulting, contractual, fee-for-service
• Bench and pilot scale demonstration
• Intellectual property and literature analysis
• Selective enrichment and isolation
• Strain characterization, physiology and bioenergetics
• Experimentally evolved or genetically engineered strains
• Genetic tools
• Synthetic biology
• Engineered bioproducts
• Biochemistry, enzyme optimization
• Natural or synthetic consortia
• Empirical systems modeling
Two patents awarded with additional patents pending



It costs a small town hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to clean wastewater or risk even higher EPA fines and people’s health. Wastewater that is unfit to drink or discharge to waterways must be treated by a series of microbial processes culminating in anaerobic digestion. MTE provides solutions for increasing the rate of anaerobic digestion, the yield of biogas, and for co-production of high-value renewable hydrocarbons so that even small communities can see a revenue return instead of a taxpayer cost for efficiently cleaning wastewater.


Using the universal concepts of thermodynamics, enzyme kinetics, and metabolism we can coax living organisms to perform better and more efficiently than they do in nature. MTE provides solutions for using microbes to produce fuel from CO2 and renewable carbon feedstocks such as excess sugar from corn or other non-food crops, wood, or waste biomass.


Microbes are harnessed to produce products for human health such as vaccines, drugs, bioactive enzymes, vitamins, antibiotics, and personal health items such as cosmetics and perfumes. The MTE platform allows us to tailor and optimize microbial metabolism to produce renewable chemicals and bioactive pharmaceuticals from the lowest-cost feedstocks, thus resulting in lower drug costs for producers and consumers.

Designed Systems

Microbes naturally exist in complex communities, or mixtures. MTE has expertise in encouraging synergistic behaviors in robust natural microbial communities, as well as in designing communities to achieve desired biosynthetic capabilities.


MTE specializes in growing methanogens, selecting and evolving new traits, genetically engineering methanogens to produce hydrocarbons instead of methane, and manipulating metabolic efficiency to increase product yield. We can also reverse the cell’s metabolism to make high-value products from methane gas.


Microbes called hydrogens produce molecular hydrogen by fermentation using sugar. Thermotogae are hyperthermophilic bacterial hydrogens that offer unique benefits for biohydrogen production related to process cost, feedstock sterility and product yield. MTE specializes in their growth, trait evolution and genetic engineering including cell lines that shift maintenance energy towards bioproduct formation. Other applications include thermal microbial batteries and biological electroplating.

Enzyme Technology

MTE has technology for creating new and better enzymes based on strategies using selection, and directed or designed modifications. These include ExtremaseTM cocktails for feedstock conversion to accelerate ethanol, biogas and biohydrogen synthesis, and enzymes that promote metabolic balancing in evovled and engineered cell lines.


Molecular Trait Evolution was founded in 2016 by Paul Blum, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, and Nicole Buan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry, both faculty at the University of Nebraska. Together they have over 50 years’ worth of experience with diverse microbes and viruses from all domains of life.

MTE LLC | Molecular Trait Evolution