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 Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>