The innovations in Molecular Biology that triggered the revolution in modern biology and enabled the establishment of the field of Biotechnology will critically determine everyday life in the 21st century. For the positive use of these technologies at the MCI research focus algal biotechnology we apply the range of biotechnological methods to identify as yet unknown substances from this often poorly known group of photosynthetic organisms for applications in medicine, chemistry or food technology. Microalgae have also the potential to serve as ideal organisms for the transgenic production of complex molecules. The required research for this application is another focus of the MCI biotechnology cluster.
Biotechnology with transgenic micro-algae: For years, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has served as a model organism for basic research. Given the alga’s classification as a safe organism (GRAS = generally regarded as safe), it could be used in the future to produce bioengineering products such as vaccines. The MCI is working to optimize methods for improving reproducibility and yield through transgenic expression. As a model application, development is taking place on the expression of allergens in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for specific immunotherapy.
In order to establish the use of microalgae for biotechnological purposes, the complete process chain, from cultivation to isolation and analysis is taken into account. The most promising Micro-algae strains identified by bioactivity screenings of biobanks are analyzed for identification of optimized growth parameters.
These efforts lead to the development of economic photobioreactors with optimized light and nutrient input and flexible regulation for induction of biomass and/or induction of active agent production. For the optimization of Downstream-Processing new methods for microalgae cell disruption and extraction of active agents are developed at the MCI.
Biobank screening for active agents: Micro-algae constitute a diverse group of photosynthetic organisms, which have become a focus of biotechnological research in view of the valuable substances to be found in them and the low cost of growth in the presence of light. At MCI, yet unresearched biobanks, e.g. a collection of terrestrial algae, are undergoing screening in search of innovative active agents and products for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries.
Research Areas at a glance
Forschungsfelder Technologie & Life Sciences im Überblick