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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
  • 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
  • Photovoltaics
  • 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,), microalgae
  • Liquids: Industrial and municipal (organic) waste streams and waste from food industry
  • Gases: CO2, H2, CO (syngas)

 

BIOCATALYSIS
Complex reactions are carried out by diverse enzyme systems:

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

 

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)

 

SENIOR RESEARCHERS

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

Christoph Ellert,  Ph.D.
Plasma technology, hydrogen production & conversion, system design

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