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Biotechnology & Sustainable Chemistry

The BIOTECHNOLOGY & SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY group has a strong background in biotechnology (pharma, industrial and environmental) and associated analytics. Consequently, the group covers the complete value chain from microbiology, strain engineering, bioprocess development, product isolation & complex analytical characterization to quality control using state of the art methods and equipment. Its members are experienced in conducting complex various projects (corporate & public co-sponsored, European projects, mandates) with industrial as well as academic partners.

 


RESEARCH AREAS

(BIO)ANALYTICS
State of the art equipment for research and services:

• (Bio)separations: LC (analytical & semi-preparative scale), LC-MS (qTOF, qqq), electrophoresis (planar, capillary) of proteins, antibodies, enzymes, active pharmaceutical ingredients, proteins (e.g. mABs), complex carbohydrates, ions, etc.
• Structure elucidation (NMR, FT-IR, MSn)
• Chiral analysis (LC, GC, CE, polarimetry)
• Elemental analysis (AAS, AES, ICO-OES)
• Biocompatibility (LAL test) and standardized in vitro cell assays (ISO10993 based methods)
• ELISA, enzyme activity, fluorescence assays
• Gene expression, transgene copy number, host cell residual DNA (qPCR)
• Method development & validation: ISO 17025 certified (analytical chemistry, microbiology, qPCR)


SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENERGY
Customized system engineering is provided in the fields of:

• Hydrogen generation by microbial electrolysis cell
• Bioethanol Refining
• Plasma technology for material treatment and analysis
• Electrolytic Hydrogen generation & conversion
• Integration of photovoltaics and chemical storage
• Phosphate recovery from digested sewage sludge
• Methane production using bioelectric systems
• Microalgae as tool for solar-driven chemical production


BIOPROCESS ENGINEERING
Bioprocess development for research and industrial production:

• Design and scale-up of batch, fed-batch and continuous cultivation of: aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, fungi, mammalian cells and algae)
• Strain development, (screening and selection of expression systems)
• Process analytical technology (PAT) for bioprocess optimization and scale-up from micro-bioreactor to 300 L
• Downstream processing: filtration, centrifugation, extraction, fixed and fluidized bed adsorption, chromatography, membrane separation from lab to pilot scale


BIORESOURCES
Renewable bioresources are investigated for biological and chemical treatment:

• Solids: Polysaccharides (cellulose and hemicellulose) and complex mixtures (food waste), biomass
• Liquids: Industrial and municipal (organic) waste streams and waste from food industry
• Gases: CO2, H2, CO (syngas)
• Biosorption for the removal of microcontaminants


BIOCATALYSIS
Complex reactions are carried out by diverse enzyme systems:

• Stereo-, regio- and chemoselective enzymatic catalysis and whole cell biotransformation of, for example, waste into fuel products
• Synthesis of biosurfactants, biolubricants and biodiesel
• Stabilisation of enzymes by ionic liquids
• Rate enhancement of enzymatic catalyses
• Green solvent free enzymatic catalysis


BIOMATERIALS
Production, processing and (analytical) characterization of biomaterials:

• Biopolyesters, polysaccharides, proteins, peptides, DNA/RNA
• Tailor-made polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) for industrial and medical applications
• Medical implants (collagen substitute)
• Antimicrobial effect testing

 

SENIOR RESEARCHERS

Simon Crelier, Ph.D.
Biotechnology, DSP, enzyme technology

Christoph Ellert,  Ph.D.
Plasma technology, hydrogen production and conversion, system and process engineering

Fabian Fischer, Ph.D.
Biotechnology, biocatalysis, chemical biotechnology & biofuels

Franka Kalman, Ph.D.
Bioanalytics, characterization and quality control of (bio)molecules

Sergio Schmid, Ph.D.
Molecular biology, recombinant production and strain engineering

Manfred Zinn, Ph.D.
Biotechnology, bioprocess engineering & biomaterials