Algal Biotechnology

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.

Contact
Alexander Trockenbacher
Dr. Alexander Trockenbacher Senior Lecturer +43 512 2070 - 3838

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Molecular Biotechnology of Microalgae

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.

 

Cultivation and Processing of Microalgae

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.

 

Screening for Novel Compounds

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 jpeg

Research Areas at a glance

(co)Operation SKD
State:
Laufend

Start of project:
September 2014

Project staff:
Dipl.-Ing. Michael G. Schnitzlein, PhD
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


Dr. Alexander Trockenbacher
MCI interne ProjektleiterIn, since September 2014


FH-Prof. Mag. Marco Rupprich, Ph.D.
MCI interne ProjektleiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


FH-Prof. Dr. Christoph Griesbeck
MCI interne ProjektleiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


Dr. techn. Angela Hofmann
MCI interne ProjektleiterIn, from September 2014 until September 2016


Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Benjamin Hupfauf
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


Bettina Rainer, BSc MSc
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


Sebastian Perkams, BSc MSc
ProjektleiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


Heidrun Füssl-Le, BSc, MSc
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from September 2014 until August 2018


About the project:
The project aims to establish an economic process for the production of valuable compounds from phototrophic microorganisms (algae, microalgae) and the subsequent energetic processing of biomass. For this purpose established R&D structures at the Departments of Biotechnology and Environmental, Process & Energy Engineering at MCI, as well as at the Departments of Bio and Environmental Technology and Process Engineering and Production at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (FH OÖ) are further developed, combined and integrated. The Austrian Drug Screening Institutes (ADSI) will contribute additional analytical expertise to the consortium. The main objectives will be the development of the single process steps and competence development in order to provide targeted services for potential company partners in the fields of pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

Optimierung heterologer Proteinexpression in der Grünalge C. reinhardtii
State:
Laufend

Start of project:
März 2014

Project staff:
FH-Prof. Dr. Christoph Griesbeck
ProjektleiterIn, from März 2014 until November 2016


Mag. Claudia Ralser, Bakk. biol.
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from März 2014 until November 2016


Dr. Alexander Trockenbacher
ProjektleiterIn, from März 2014 until November 2016


Anna Kirchmayr, BSc, MSc
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from März 2014 until Dezember 2015


Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Sonja Hirschl
ProjektmitarbeiterIn, from März 2014 until November 2016


About the project:
The main objective of this project is the recombinant production of therapeutic or biotechnological applicable proteins in the eukaryotic expression system, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as well as the optimization of heterologous expression. For this purpose we quantify the expression rate of semirational constructed promotors by luminometrically measuring the expression of reporter-proteins. Expression is tested in different cell compartments; chloroplasts, cytoplasma and the cell membrane.


  • Griesbeck, C. & Trockenbacher A. (2015). Kompetenzaufbau hochwertige Produkte aus Algen. Biobased Future 4, 21.
  • Griesbeck C. et al. (2006) Chlamydomonas reinhardtii – a protein expression system for pharmaceutical and biotechnological proteins, Molecular Biotechnology 34, 213-224
  • Trockenbacher, A., & Griesbeck, C. (2015). Novel Products from Microalgae. Going Public Special Biotechnologie 2015, 107-108.

  • Griesbeck C. et al. (2006) Chlamydomonas reinhardtii - a protein expression system for biotechnological and pharmaceutical proteins. Life Science Circle, Wien, 2006
  • Griesbeck, C. (2014). Genetisch veränderte Algen als Produktionsorganismen. 7. Bundesalgenstammtisch der DECHEMA, Köthen
  • Griesbeck C., Kirchmayr A., Sizova I. und Hegemann P. (2011) Transgene Expression and Gene Targeting in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Congress Proceedings of BIT´s 1st Annual World Congress of Marine Biotechnology
  • Lackner C. und Griesbeck C. (2009) Virale Promotoren zur verbesserten Transgenexpression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In: Baumgartner E. (Herausgeber): 3. Forschungsforum der österreichischen Fachhochschulen, pp 458-459. Kärntner Druck- und Verlagsges.m.b.H., Klagenfurt. ISBN 978-3-853912850
  • Griesbeck C. und Rücker O. (2008) Silencing-defiziente Stämme von Chlamydomonas reinhardtii zur verbesserten Transgenexpression. In: Kastner J. (Herausgeber): 2. Forschungsforum der österreichischen Fachhochschulen, pp 395-399. Shaker Verlag, Aachen. ISBN 978-3-8322-7023-0

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