Author Archive

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.

targeting cancer - pink ribbon

The complex tumour structure makes the treatment of breast cancer a medical challenge. A promising, novel selenium-based breast cancer nanoparticle therapy, which is topic of the EU-project Neosetac, could change that: It has proved to boost the active agent delivery and assure it’s active only in the target tissue while also bringing the suggestion of reduced side effects. The project findings are expected to increase the efficiency of future chemotherapies and prevent recurrence of the cancer after complete remission.

Capsaicin

Have you ever wondered, why it often takes many years until a new drug is available at your local pharmacy? One of the reasons is that the pharmaceutical industry wants to make sure that the drug is not only effective but also doesn’t produce toxic breakdown products that lead to undesireable side effects. Therefore, many time-consuming and not seldomly expensive tests are required to know precisely, which possible metabolic by-products could emerge. In a next step, the industry is producing such derivates to test them thoroughly for their side-effects, ensuring one goal: the patients health and wellbeing. 

red blood cells - Biosensors for blood grouping

Biosensors may soon facilitate the analysis of a patient’s entire red blood cell antigen repertoire. In the form of diagnostic test strips, they could make the analysis swift and location-independent. This could have enormous potential not only in medical diagnosis, but also for environmental analysis if extended to other analytes.

plastic

More than 32 Million tons of plastic waste end up in our environment per year. Most of it is non-degradable polyethylene, produced from about 8% of the global mineral oil resources. Researchers of the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology develop new biotechnological solutions to substitute critical processes. In the EU-funded project ROBOX, acib’s partners Uni Maastricht and Chemstream from Belgium have developed an approach to produce polyethylene biologically and sustainably from plant extracts. Enzyme-engineering can help to produce plastic without the use of harmful solvents.

Pig - Migulators

Pink, fat and healthy – that’s how we visualize the ideal pig. But what if Pink Beauty’s stomach is upset? There can be a range of consequences from stress to enteritis, from reduced fattening performance for the industry to a decline of meat quality for the consumer. In a recent survey conducted by the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) and IPUS GmbH Rottenmann, scientists sort to find out how acidification during feed digestion can be managed and which natural feed additives support animal health and welfare.

LNF18

Co-author: Sabrina Mayer-Maschl

On Friday, April 13th 2018, it was time to experience the world of science and research! Despite the not very promising date, the organizers expected a large number of visitors to come. During the 8th Long Night of Research, Austria’s largest nationwide research event, current science projects, new findings and technologies were presented in understandable and entertaining ways. With 228.000 visitors a new record was achieved. This shows the steadily growing interest in the research topics of the future.