Autor Archiv

Fermenting Future Visitors perspective on different yeast strains
Author: Marina Jecmenica (BOKU) The art exhibition “Fermenting Futures” at Künstlerhaus Wien came to an end and it’s time to recap and draw conclusions on the impressions left with the audience. After all, the goal of the event was to emphasize on the importance of yeast in modern biotechnology and highlight on how tightly entangled the history of humankind and this unicellular organism used to be, but most importantly how it continues to be. By the means of “BioArt”, the British artists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May showed the aesthetics behind biotechnology and revealed if and how BioArt can play a role for knowledge transfer to the general public.
Food mix
What does food have to do with climate change? Quite a lot, because as population density increases, so does the demand for food. At the same time, resources are being consumed, posing even greater challenges to our environment and climate. With its “Food 2030” priority, the European Union is pursuing the goal of ensuring innovative research for the future viability of our food system. Within the framework of its research program, acib GmbH already contributes to the development of suitable solutions for sustainable and healthy nutrition. Here are some examples and project ideas from the field of biotechnology:
ecoNutri Scheme
What if you could produce something valuable out of the pesky greenhouse gases? What if you could even use them to tackle important global challenges? This is exactly the mission of acib’s spin-off company Econutri. The small company has developed a bioprocess that uses carbon dioxide as a source to produce high quality protein. A crucial part of this process is the microorganism, Cupriavidus necator: it is grown in a gas fermentation process where hydrogen produced from green energy is needed for the microbial transformation of CO2 into protein.
INfographik Bio-based Plastik
Weihnachten naht, und mit den Geschenken droht der Verpackungsmüll wieder Überhand zu nehmen. Nichtsdestotrotz ist Plastik eine der größten Materialinnovationen des letzten Jahrhunderts, und es gibt Plastik sogar in “bio”! Im Rahmen unseres Life is Science Podcasts “Die BioTexperten” unterhalten wir uns mit acib Forscherin Dr. Anita Emmerstorfer-Augustin, die Teil des Teams rund um das EU Projekt BIO-PLASTICS EUROPE ist. Wir klären wichtige Begriffsdefinitionen wie “bio-basiert” oder “bio-abbaubar” und schauen uns an, wo Bio-Plastik heutzutage schon Anwendung findet.
Fermenting Futures
Arts and natural sciences have nothing in common at first sight. But if we have a closer look, sculptural artworks can be the ideal tool for exploring scientific contents from a visual perspective while reaching audiences that haven’t been targeted before. The discipline of “BioArt” allows artists to put their hands on the techniques of biotechnological science and methodologies. These first-hand experiences enable them to tell their own – science-based – story from an artistic point of view.
sugar beets
Sustainability and use of renewable resources represent an important part of any production process with regard to circular economy and for the sake of our planet. With all the biomass available, utilization thereof offers a variety of applications. The European project CARBAFIN has developed a radically new value chain for the use of sucrose from sugar beet biomass. Specific enzymes convert sucrose into new compounds, such as functional glycosides or platform chemicals. These are relevant for different industry sectors, which are highlighted below.
brushes
In times of COVID-19, we are spending a lot of time at home. Some of us feel the desire to give one of the rooms or even the whole flat a new coat. There is only one challenge: From furniture to window frames and indoor walls, whenever something is painted it should dry and harden fast. This is currently being solved by adding so called siccatives, which contain heavy metals such as cobalt, copper or lead. But we all know that these are toxic and harmful to our health and to the environment.

The COVID-19 crisis is currently affecting all of us and all eyes are set at the scientific community that is eager to find a drug or a vaccine against the virus as soon as possible. Furthermore, the European Commission has launched the Green Deal concept which includes a research budget within the Horizon 2020 program of 1 billion Euro! Let’s conclude from these two recent examples: Science is important for all of us to move forward and to find solutions to meet the big challenges of our planet. In other words: science affects all of us and life is science!

Plastic waste management has become a challenge for our planet. Mankind produces 27.1 million tons per year of plastic waste and only 31.1% can be recycled! More than 65% are landfilled or incinerated. These huge amount of waste comes along with CO2 emissions of 6.7 million tons per year.

To counteract to these numbers, the project ENZYCLE was launched: it looks for new processes to treat and to recycle plastic fractions that nowadays cannot be recycled. It mainly addresses multilayer packaging, PET trays and clamshell containers and microplastics in waste water. Therefore, the project aims to reduce the amount of plastics that ends up in soil and the oceans.