Industrial Biotechnology

Nature is capable of synthesizing a vast structurally diversity of chemicals which is unparalleled in efficiency even by very modern chemical synthesis methods. With the aid of biotechnology these synthesis methods developed by nature can be applied for the industrial production of chemical products. In many areas of food, pharmaceutical and chemical industry biotechnological processes are already in use. Some well known products which are produced today with the aid of biotechnology include for example vitamin C, amino acids such as lysine, and many of the nowadays used antibiotics.

A major focus of our work is dedicated to the study of biosynthetic pathways of natural products, by identifying functions of individual genes and enzymes or elucidating entire biosynthetic pathways.

Building on the insights obtained, we then try to apply the knowledge for improving the synthesis of desired natural products or even to synthesis of chemicals.

Complementary to above described activities is our interest in the development of new genetic tool and analytical methods useful for the study of natural product biosynthetic pathways and metabolic engineering in general.


• Development of biofuels and bio-chemicals concepts

• Metabolic engineering of microorganisms (including metabolomics and flux analysis)

• Synthesis gas fermentation

• Classical strain evelopment of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms (genome shuffling, chemical mutagenesis and high-throughput-screening)

• LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS analysis, including targeted proteomics and metabolomics

• Phytochemistry and natural product analysis, in particular ofterpenes including cytochrome P450 monooxygenases

• Working with radioisotopes (14C, 3H, 32P) for the elucidation ofmetabolic pathways and importer/exporter studies

• Screening for novel biocatalysts based on quorum sensing quenching

• Development of tailor-made biocatalysts using guided protein evolution