Hes-so Valais

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.



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)

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 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

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

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

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



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