Author Archive

Hydrogel bubbles
Climate change is causing temperatures to rise, making water an increasingly scarce resource. A natural, wood-based hydrogel that can absorb and store a multiple of its own weight in water and continuously release it to soils over long periods of time. This will enable agriculture to use water more efficiently in the future and, in particular, to supply water to areas severely affected by climate change. The technology has the potential to significantly accelerate the sustainability goals of the Agenda 2030, which officially declared the sustainable management of water resources a human right.
Bionanocomposites + bottle with Bionanopolys logo
Climate protection, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and saving of fossil resources are key elements for a more sustainable future. Potential alternatives to fossil-based materials are so called biomaterials. However, these substances must offer functional properties for high-volume applications and need to perform even better than their fossil counterparts and still have to get cheaper in order to drive their adoption by industry and end users. In order to provide biomaterials with the requested properties and make them more interesting for an industrial use, the EU-project Bionanopolys was founded.
Innophore Catalaphore approach
Like any virus, SARS-CoV-2 is constantly changing. A wide variety of mutations are the result, to which vaccine manufacturers have so far only been able to react retroactively. Researchers from Graz, Austria have succeeded in using modern AI-based screening methods and virtual scenarios to study and predict the relevance of existing, but also future corona virus variants. This will allow vaccine manufacturers to optimize existing vaccines more quickly to make them effective against a wide range of mutations and to to gain earlier control over epidemics.
sharks

Squalene acts as a booster for potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. However, the richest squalene source, shark liver, can and should not be exploited further. acib offers a solution: Yeast cell factories can be designed via biotechnological tools to produce high amounts of squalene.

Coronavirus

Globally, the search for potential drugs and vaccines is proceeding rapidly. A collaborative acib-research project focuses on the identification, evaluation and pre-clinical testing of a certain group of active ingredients, combining faster availability with high effectiveness. These so-called antiviral drugs have been used in the fights against HIV, MERS and SARS. They can inhibit the multiplication rates of enzymes or prevent virus particles from invading lung cells and consequently avert  possible infections. This makes them effective tools in the fight against COVID-19.

symbol picture for ambrein from whale

It is grey, waxy, smelly and very expensive: Ambra, the worlds rarest organic substance, could only be found in the digestive tract of sperm whales. The compound is highly sought after by the perfume industry due to its fragrance fixative properties and distinctive aroma. Biotechnologists found a new biosynthetic pathway to produce the precursor of Ambra, names Ambrein, exactly as it occurs in nature. The findings could revolutionize the perfume industry by making different products eco-friendly.

binoculars as a metaphor for monitoring

While currently most production processes for biopharmaceuticals are assessed by laboriuos and time-consuming off-line analytics, a new process enables the monitoring of such processes in real-time. Sensors  combined with  mathematical models deliver information on the quality and quantity of the product, as well as on content and profile impurities. This allows an instant monitoring of processes, making processes safer, faster, cheaper and more efficient.

Scheme for switch

Scientists from the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna and the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) discovered a gene switch in yeast, that was able to change twelve genes – and thereby the metabolic process of yeast as a whole. This work explains evolutionary events that happened more than 120 million years ago. The results have recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications and have the potential to be used in the food and feed industry and for the production of bio fuels and new building blocks for bioplastics.