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.
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.
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.
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.
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.