Biotechnology

  • Cholesterol important for signal transmission in cells

    CXCR4 receptor which belongs to a group known as G protein-coupled receptors. FAU/Rainer Böckmann

    Cholesterol can bind important molecules into pairs, enabling human cells to react to external signals. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg’s (FAU) Chair of Biotechnology have studied these processes in more detail using computer simulations. Their findings have now been published in the latest volume of the journal PLOS Computational Biology*. FAU researchers Kristyna Pluhackova and Stefan Gahbauer discovered that cholesterol strongly influences signal transmission in the body. Their study focused on the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which belong to a group known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These receptors sense external stimuli such as light, hormones or sugar and pass these signals on to the interior of the cell which reacts to them. CXCR4 normally supports the human immune system. However, it also plays an important role in the formation of metastases and the penetration of HIV into the cell interior.

  • Faster diagnosis of sepsis pathogens

    High-throughput sequencing of sepsis pathogens at Fraunhofer IGB. Fraunhofer IGB

    Microbial pathogens can be diagnosed unambiguously and within just 24 hours by means of high-throughput sequencing of their genetic makeup and special bioinformatics evaluation algorithms. Fraunhofer researchers have validated this in a clinical study with sepsis patients. The researchers present the NGS diagnosis platform at Medica in Düsseldorf from November 14–17, 2016. It is estimated that in Germany alone around 150,000 people fall ill with sepsis every year; despite medical advances, between 30 and 50 percent of the patients still die of the consequences. One of the reasons for the high mortality rate: the diagnosis often comes too late for the lifesaving therapy with antibiotics that only combat the specific causative pathogen.

  • Innovatives enzymatisches Verfahren zur Semisynthese von Taxanen

    Prinzip des Enzym-Membran-Kontaktors

    Das wissenschaftliche Ziel eines erfolgreich abgeschlossenen Projektes war die Entwicklung eines innovativen und nachhaltigen biotechnologischen Verfahrens zur Synthese des therapeutischen Wirkstoffs Taxol® und weiterer, an der Seitenkette modifizierter Taxane. Das technische Ziel dieses Projektes war die Entwicklung eines Membran-Kontaktors, welcher zur Synthese und in-situ Extrakti-on der Reaktionsprodukte genutzt wurde.

  • MIKE macht Biogasanlagen effizienter: Neues BMBF-Projekt zur stofflichen Nutzung von CO2 gestartet

    DECHEMA Forschungsinstitut

    Höhere Biogasausbeute, keine aufwändige CO2-Abtrennung und Überschussstrom wird sinnvoll genutzt: Das alles soll MIKE leisten, das BMBF-Projekt „Methanisierung von CO2 aus Biogas mittels mikrobieller Elektrosynthese“, das seit dem 1. September 2016 läuft. Koordinator des Projektes ist Dr.-Ing. Dirk Holtmann vom DECHEMA Forschungsinstitut. In Kooperation mit der ifn FTZ GmbH in Elsteraue, der Infraserv GmbH & Co. Höchst KG sowie der Provadis School of International Management and Technology soll ein elektrobiotechnologisches Verfahren zur Umsetzung des CO2 entwickelt werden.

  • Monsanto takeover: Bayer is buying the US American seed company in $66 billion deal

    Bayer is buying Monsanto. © Nanobay

    According to the German weekly news magazine “Stern” Bayer agrees to buy the US American seed company Monsanto. It is the largest company takeover by a Germany-based group.

  • Nanotechnologie in Europa stärken

    Schema der Elektronenstrahl-induzierten Abscheidung.

    Wissenschaftler der Universitäten Bremen, Bielefeld und Erlangen-Nürnberg beteiligen sich an einem multinationalen EU-Projekt zur Nanotechnologie. Nanotechnologie gilt als die Technologie des 21. Jahrhunderts. Sie liefert die Grundlagen, um Produkte von nur wenigen Nanometern Größe in jeder gewünschten Form herzustellen: für Mikroprozessoren, elektronische Schaltungen in Computern und in der Telekommunikation, in der Medizin und in der Biotechnologie, um nur einige Einsatzfelder zu nennen. Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung der Nanotechnologie nimmt rasant zu. Vor diesem Hintergrund fördert die Europäische Kommission seit kurzem das Marie-Curie Trainings-Netzwerk ELENA (Low energy ELEctron driven chemistry for the advantage of emerging NAnofabrication methods), an dem 13 Universitäten, vier Forschungsinstitute und fünf Unternehmen aus 13 europäischen Ländern beteiligt sind.

  • New weapon against Diabetes

    Diagram of a HEK-beta cell. Graphics: ETH Zurich

    ETH Researchers have used the simplest approach yet to produce artificial beta cells from human kidney cells. Like their natural model, the artificial cells act as both sugar sensors and insulin producers. Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach. The artificial beta cells can do everything that natural ones do: they measure the glucose concentration in the blood and produce enough insulin to effectively lower the blood sugar level. The ETH researchers presented their development in the latest edition of the journal Science.

  • Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measurement techniques

    Analysis of a marine sample of photosynthetic picoplankton by flow cytometry showing three different populations (Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and picoeukaryotes)

    Quantum leap in the reliability of mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Modern mass spectrometry systems enable scientists to routinely determine the quantitative composition of cells or tissue samples. However, different analysis software packages often produce different results from the same raw data. An international team of researchers led by Professor Stefan Tenzer from the Mainz University Medical Center has now addressed this problem.

  • Peptides as tags in fluorescence microscopy

    Synapses of brain cells made visible using fluorescence tagging based on antibodies: pre-synapses (red) and post-synapses (green) appear out of focus; the synaptic cleft is not fully resolved. (Picture: Franziska Neubert & Sören Doose)

    Advance in biomedical imaging: The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen has developed an alternative approach to fluorescent tagging of proteins. The new probes are practicable and compatible with high-resolution microscopic procedures. Fluorescence microscopy visualizes the molecular elements of cells. Proteins of nerve cells, for instance, can be labelled using probes which are subsequently excited with light to fluoresce. In the end, the fluorescence signal is used to generate microscopic images of the real position, arrangement and number of proteins.

  • Porous crystalline materials: TU Graz researcher shows method for controlled growth

    Porous cystalls called MOFs on a comparatively large surface area of one square centimetre. © Nature Materials 2016 Falcaro et.al.

    Microporous crystals (MOFs) have a great potential as functional materials of the future. Paolo Falcaro of TU Graz et al demonstrate in Nature Materials how the growth of MOFs can be precisely controlled on a large scale. Porous crystals called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) consist of metallic intersections with organic molecules as connecting elements. Thanks to their high porosity, MOFs have an extremely large surface area. A teaspoonful of MOFs has the same surface area as a football pitch. These countless pores situated in an extremely small space offer room for “guests” and can, for example, be used for gas storage or as “molecular gate” for separation of chemicals.

  • Toolbox aus hydrogelbasierten Beschichtungen und Strukturierungstechniken für 3D-Biointerfaces

    Anwendung der Toolbox

    BASIS® (Bioanalytics and Surfaces for Integration in Systems) ist ein Bündnis aus Unternehmen und Forschungseinrichtungen in Thüringen, in dessen Fokus neue Produkte mit bisher nicht realisierbaren Produkteigenschaften für die Zielmärkte Messtechnik für biologische Systeme, die mobile Analytik und Implantologie stehen.

  • Use of bacteria to produce valuable substances from carbon dioxide

    Ball-and-stick model of the carbon dioxide molecule, one of the most important chemical compounds in the world - vital for life as we know it, but catastrophic at excess levels. Colour code: Carbon, C: black Oxygen, O: red

    Goethe University Frankfurt coordinates European two million Euro project. Microbes are already used on a wide scale for the production of fuels and base chemicals, but for this most of them have to be “fed” with sugar. However, since sugar-based biotechnology finds itself in competition with food production, it is faced with increasingly fierce criticism. Carbon dioxide has meanwhile become the focus of attention as an alternative raw material for biotechnological processes. Goethe University Frankfurt has now taken charge of a collaborative European project, the aim of which is to advance the development of processes for microbial, CO2-based biotechnology. The project will be funded over the next three years with € 2 million.

  • Zwei Tage im Zeichen der Nanotechnologie – Mehr als 700 Gäste

    Neue Materialien wie Fullerene (d) oder Carbon-Nanotubes (h) sind Nanotechnologie und werden schon jetzt in vielen Gebieten eingesetzt.

    7. NRW Nano-Konferenz in Münster: Nordrhein-Westfalen führender Standort für Nanowissenschaften und Nanosicherheit. Erstmals ist die Stadt Münster am 7. und 8. Dezember 2016 Schauplatz der hochkarätigen NRW Nano-Konferenz. Die Veranstaltung im Messe- und Congress Centrum der Halle Münsterland ist das zentrale Event für die Nanotechnologie in Deutschland und ein wichtiges Instrument zur Innovationssteigerung in NRW. Wissenschaftsministerin Svenja Schulze sagt mit Blick auf die Konferenz: „Nanotechnologie kann in zentralen Zukunftsfeldern wie etwa Medizin oder Energieeffizienz für echten Fortschritt sorgen. Münster und Nordrhein-Westfalen haben sich längst als international führender Standort für Nanowissenschaften und Nanosicherheit etabliert. Diese Position wird mit der Konferenz weiter gestärkt ausgebaut.“