Modern Biotechnology is everywhere
Carbon serves as the building block of life, as well as the goods and products we use every day. We consume fossil fuels and use carbon to make plastic and a variety of other products. Life as we know it today would not be possible without it. Therefore, carbon balance is crucial to have a sustainable world and future. In this context, CO2 balance is of particular interest because the rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations due to human activities is the main trigger for global warming, which in turn leads to a climate crisis that affects the global health, economy, and future of our planet.
Viennese researchers from the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) and BOKU Vienna found a way to use the harmful greenhouse gas CO2 as a raw material for the production of industrial products such as bioplastics, absorbents or important chemicals with the help of an optimized yeast, thus binding it into durable materials. The technology, which is still on a laboratory scale, is not only climate-neutral, but could also make a contribution to the fight against climate change in the future.
The MOOC “The new plastics economy: circular business models and sustainability”, realized within the Horizon 2020 BIO-PLASTICS EUROPE project
Pinpoint accuracy: Graz researchers develop technology for precise assessment of the danger of viral variants
One of the greatest difficulties in combating viral infectious diseases is the excellent adaptability of viruses. Especially with of SARS-CoV-2 new variants are quickly and constantly forming, bringing different properties with them. That’s why it’s important that in the future it will be crucial to predict more quickly and precisely how dangerous a virus can become.
Antibodies are an important part of our immune system and work by recognizing potential hazards entering the body, such as bacteria and viruses, and activating an immune response if necessary. Antibodies that are produced in the laboratory, so called monoclonal antibodies, are widely used in modern medicine for diagnostics as well as for treating infections and some types of cancer, e.g. breast cancer.
Im acib-Interview gibt Marko Mihovilovic, Dekan an der Fakultät für Technische Chemie an der Technischen Universität Wien, Einblick in die Zukunft der Life Sciences Fortbildungen und zeichnet den Weg nach, wie aus einer Idee mithilfe tragfähiger Synergien zwischen Forschung und Industrie ein innovatives Produkt entsteht. Laut Mihovilovic müssen Universitäten auch dem Aufrag nachkommen, Problemlösekapazitäten in Bereichen wie dem Klimawandel zu entwickeln, um nicht zuletzt dem angeschlagenen Image der Chemie einen grüneren Anstrich zu verleihen.
The climate crisis is on everyone’s lips! The chemical industry plays an important role in finding more efficient measures for industrial production processes. Most recently, the Ukraine crisis has also caused that quick solutions are urgently needed for independence from fossil resources. In this context, the keyword “green chemistry” quickly comes to our mind.
Despite being a promising technology, enzymatic plastic recycling is still in the development phase. This means that it is not yet clear whether this recycling method will have the required characteristics for effectively replace traditional mechanical methods or even complement them. In fact, in order to be successful on the market, a technology needs to be economically viable in the first place and secondly its environmental footprint needs to be significantly lower compared to the state-of-the-art. Techno-economic and life cycle assessments are the tools used both in academia and industry precisely to evaluate the performance of new technologies like the one we are developing at Enzycle.
Der Verlauf der Pandemie hat es uns deutlich gezeigt: in der Gesellschaft hat sich starke Wissenschaftsskepsis breit gemacht, und Österreich nimmt dabei eine unrühmliche Rolle im Spitzenfeld ein. Aussagen wie „Wissenschaftler sind abhängig von der Pharmalobby“, „Wissenschaft ist mir zu kompliziert“ oder „Wissenschaft betrifft mich nicht“ tauchen immer öfter auf.
The art exhibition “Fermenting Futures” at Künstlerhaus Wien came to an end and it’s time to recap and draw conclusions on the impressions left with the audience. After all, the goal of the event was to emphasize on the importance of yeast in modern biotechnology and highlight on how tightly entangled the history of humankind and this unicellular organism used to be, but most importantly how it continues to be.