Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Building New Moss Factories

20.10.2017

New EU project will promote the environmentally friendly production of complex molecules for medicine and industry

For millions of years, plants have been producing highly complex molecules out of simple chemical building blocks, sustainably and cheaply. Many of these chemical substances are used in medicine and the perfume industry today. Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Freiburg, Germany, will be further developing a variety of mosses as sustainable and fast-growing molecule factories in the MossTech project.


Moss cells in an Erlenmeyer-flask. Photo: Sigrid Gombert (Freiburg)

The project’s coordinator is the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen, and participants include the University of Lund in Sweden, the Gulbenkian Institute in Portugal, and the companies Taxa Biotechnologies from the US, Transactiva from Italy, ArcticMass from Island, and Mosspiration Biotech from Denmark. As an EU-designated Innovative Training Network (ITN), the project will receive €1.6 million from the EU over the next four years as part of its Horizon 2020 program. Roughly €500,000 will go to the University of Freiburg.

Next to seed plants, mosses are the second largest group of land plants today. Prof. Dr. Reski, who is a plant biotechnologist, and his research lab were able to demonstrate that the genome of the moss Physcomitrella patens has roughly 10,000 more genes than the human genome, and that many of these genes are responsible for the synthesis of highly complex chemical molecules, including long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The group of scientists at the University of Freiburg have also developed genetic engineering methods that enabled them to change the moss genome in a targeted and precise manner. Similar genome editing methods using CRISPR/Cas9 technology on other plants and animals have also earned much attention in the past.

Of the six PhD students who will be involved in the MossTech project, two will spend a year at the University of Freiburg learning these methods before continuing to develop them for another two years with one of the project’s industrial partners in Denmark or Italy. The goal is to apply these methods to mosses that have not yet been researched in the hopes of cheaply and safely producing complex fine chemicals in genetically modified mosses.

"I’m excited that we were able to convince four (for us) new small and medium-sized businesses to support moss engineering. This gives us a new opportunity to translate our research into actual products,” Reski said. “After completing this very international and practice-oriented training, our young researchers will have excellent prospects on the European labor market.”

The biologists at the University of Freiburg are specialized in moss research and have made a significant contribution to the development of mosses as a global model organism in biology and biotechnology. Ralf Reski is a biologist and the Chair of Plant Biotechnology at the University of Freiburg. He is also a member of the cluster of excellence BIOSS Center for Biological Signalling Studies and was a senior fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and its French counterpart the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS).

Chair Plant Biotechnology at the University of Freiburg
http://www.plant-biotech.net

MossTech Project
http://www.mosstech.eu

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski
Faculty of Biology
Chair Plant Biotechnology
University of Freiburg, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-6968
E-Mail: pbt@biologie.uni-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/2017/building-new-moss-factories

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately

18.01.2018 | Medical Engineering

Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust

18.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>