Galathea expedition: Ikka project participants return home with unknown bacteria

The Ikka project is the first element of the Galathea expedition to produce research results. And Novozymes sponsored two high-school pupils who took part in the project.

As yet unresearched bacteria. This is the tangible result of a wet but exciting research trip to Greenland in August for high-school pupils Malik Lund and Jasmin Bagge and the other participants in the expedition.

While the many other scientists helping in the major Danish research effort known as Galathea have just begun their research, the Ikka project is the first element of the expedition to deliver results: they have found unknown bacteria living in the corrosive spring water inside the columns at the bottom of the Ikka Fjord. The bacteria probably contain new enzymes.

Scientists wait with excitement

Samples of the columns are now being kept at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (KVL) in Copenhagen, where they will be tested further in November. Jasmin and Malik will also be present on this occasion as research assistants, and Novozymes’ scientists are looking forward to reading what they come up with in the final report. There may just be a new super-enzyme hidden among the results.

Off again in the winter

But the Ikka project is not yet complete. In the winter the team will be setting off again, among other things to investigate whether there is a difference in the enzymes found in the columns in the winter and those found there in the summer. As this will be the first time that samples have been taken from the columns in winter, the scientists have no idea what to expect from this winter project. Novozymes is expecting to follow them on this trip as well.

You can read more about the two budding young scientists and their experiences in their weblogs at and