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.

Filters

Have you ever thought about how drugs are manufactured? They are often produced by microorganisms which secret them into their environment: a soup of media, the target drug and waste that must be eliminated. In the pharmaceutical industry, people use chromatography columns to purify the medication. This process is used for more than a century for the separation of compounds. One may think that everything should be already known for such a well-established process. Yet, acib researchers found out recently that already the connecting tubes and valves affect the quality of the separation process and – in the end – product quality.

project proposal

Research funding is a highly competitive process and only a small fraction of applicants get the grant in the end. EU-Horizon 2020, with almost 80 billion Euros the largest research program worldwide, has an average success rate of only 14%. What is the secret of success of those, who have made it? 

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.

Bioproducts for various applications such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, nutrients or industrial enzymes are manufactured with biotechnological methods; microorganisms or immortalized cell lines are the vehicles for production. Due to the long development times such products, especially in the area of pharmaceuticals, are often very expensive. The question is how can we make the production process of bioproducts faster, cheaper and fit for the future.