Some magnetic materials are able to absorb electro-magnetic waves and transform them into heat. But how do they do it? And is there a single mechanism or an optimum frequency for this process? To answer these and other fundamental questions of magnetic heating, first some introductory concepts must be clarified related to the magnetic response of the materials to a magnetic field.

induction

Contactless magnetic heating may sound scary, but it is part of your daily life experience. Every time you heat-up your morning coffee mocha with an induction cooker, you are using magnetic fields and magnetic materials. But can this kind of heating also be used to solve high-tech problems? This is the question that scientists are trying to answer in the H2020-FETOPEN project HOTZYMES.

Sugar beet field

Plants, which are the primary source of food and animal feed, are not only affected by diseases during their growth but also following harvest and subsequent storage. Especially fungi that can efficiently degrade organic matter cause substantial losses of this valuable resource. Such losses can be prevented if adequate countermeasures are implemented. A recent study demonstrates how microbial markers can be used for the early detection of disease progression. Reliable biomarkers can be specifically targeted in the future to reduce food waste and to improve the storability of agricultural goods.

vanilla flower

Enzyme spielen die erste Geige, die Zelle ist ein Saal für das gesamte – perfekt eingespielte – Orchester und ForscherInnen wirken als Komponisten? Heraus kommen dabei nicht etwa Töne sonder Düfte! Unser musikalischer Denkansatz veranschaulicht die komplexen Produktionsprozesse in der Biotechnologie anhand eines Beispiels aus dem Aromastoff-Bereich.

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.

arugula as an example for explored salad plants

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are not only restricted to clinical environments, nor do they always pose an immediate danger for humans. Various environmental niches are occupied by complex microbial communities that also include members that can carry one or different antibiotic resistances. The plant microbiome often harbors highly competitive microorganisms that can shield of pathogens and contribute to the host’s health. In their latest study researchers from acib-partner TU Graz have focused on antibiotic resistances in a common salad plant and found that the indigenous enterobacterial community contributes to the highly interesting profile.

sugar beets

Sugar is not only a widely used food ingredient but can also be used as possible starting point for high-added-value products. The European research consortium of CARBAFIN explores different ways to make use of sugar beet biomass: the sugar components glucose and fructose are starting points for the production of important ingredients for not only food/feed but also cosmetics. Besides, fructose can be further converted to a platform chemical, which is applied to the production of bioplastics, biofuels or biopolymers, as well as resins. In other words, CARBAFIN people sweeten our lives!

Microorganisms play a crucial role for the health and well-being of higher organisms. Host-specific microbial communities of varying complexity form the so-called microbiota. It can consist of several thousand microbial species and includes bacteria, archaea and fungi. These microorganisms exchange a plethora of metabolites with their hosts and can modulate their functioning. Such interactions equally affect humans, animals and plants. This provides us with novel strategies to counteract various diseases and increase the resistance of higher organisms towards abiotic and biotic stresses by modulating the microbiota.