The mankind flies to the moon, explores the universe – but still on earth there is much more unexplored matter than we are aware of. Bioprospecting is a discipline, where new products and processes are discovered based on natural resources. The big ideas and innovations for industrial processes are right in front of us – we just have to observe nature and – which is the difficulty – recognize them.


Complex, recalcitrant polymers represent a barrier in the biodegradation process during anaerobic digestion (AD) towards biogas production. This concerns both, biopolymers from plant waste as well as synthetic polymeric plastics entering biogas plants as packaging material with food waste. Therefore, microbial populations and their enzymes involved in the hydrolysis of lignocellulose-rich plant material and modified polyesters are investigated to develop a strategy to biologically boost the conversion of waste to bioenergy by tailor-made microbial communities and bioaugmentation.

two reaching hands

Follow up with the second article of “Connection carbon”. Missed to read the first part? Here you go!

Among numerous carbon-carbon coupling reactions in organic synthesis, the Friedel-Crafts acylation enables the direct connection of aromatic compounds with carbonyl moieties. It is therefore one of the most popular chemical transformations and extensively used. The resulting products- aromatic ketones- are valuable building blocks and relevant to a range of industrial sectors, including the pharmaceutical, biotechnological and fine chemical industry. ACIB pioneers in developing a biocatalytic equivalent for this fundamental reaction, thereby exploiting a so-far little investigated cofactor-independent acyltransferase. But why considering enzymes to do this reaction?

In the past years the advent of microbiome research was facilitated by a tremendous decrease in DNA sequencing costs. The progression of sequencing technology and the growing demand for large datasets (beyond the size of the human genome) enabled this favorable progress, which even surpassed Moore’s Law. There are various technologies that benefited from these developments and many of them have a set position in modern laboratories.

Although we live in a world that is more developed than ever, toxins are omnipresent in our environment. During evolution, the human bodies developed ways to cope with many harmful compounds; most of them are degraded enzymatically. A project at the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) revealed new insights into life saving processes – especially into the enzymatic detoxification by a special class of enzymes called flavin containing monooxygenases (FMO).

Infections in wounds concern about 2% of the population in developed countries at least once in their lifetime. These kinds of infections can lead to serious complications such as sepsis and need to be diagnosed as fast as possible. But how to find out in a fast way, if a wound is infected?

In our days, enzymes are highly important vehicles that are used to synthesize valuable chemical compounds. However, the optimization of enzymes, a key discipline in industrial biotechnology, struggles because of natural limitations. A new approach to overcome those restrictions is the high-level production of synthetic proteins containing non-canonical amino acids as performed in the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology.