Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Newsletter | December 2021 | Download PDF


BioSC education in autumn 2021


New research projects for doctoral students at the BioSC

In September 2021, PhD students in BioSC Core Groups had the opportunity to apply for interdisciplinary small projects covering different BioSC locations and research areas. Two projects are funded as of December 2021. A new call for doctoral projects will be issued at the beginning of 2022.


Photo: Jynto (CC0)
ARCyria – Biologically active indolocarbazoles: Adcanced Recombinant production of Arcyriaflavins

Luzie Kruse, Nora Bitzenhofer, Molekulare Enzymtechnologie, HHU Düsseldorf
Alexander Reiter, Biotechnologie, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Marcel Schatton, Bioorganische Chemie, HHU Düsseldorf

Natural indole carbazoles are a valuable source of bioactive compounds with numerous potential applications, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. The aim of the ARcyria project is a biosynthesis-integrated derivatisation of the chemical structure of arcyriaflavin A to obtain novel compounds and thus expand the arcyriaflavin family. For this purpose, suitable oxidoreductases for the derivatisation of the precursor compounds will be identified and implemented into the biosynthetic pathway. The newly created biosynthesis modules will be investigated in the new, antibiotic-tolerant production host Neopseudomonas.


Image: Kupirijo (CC BY-3.0)
InoDH – Combining bioinformatics and biotechnology for the production of valuable inositol isomers

Paul Ramp, Biotechnologie, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Jonas Dittrich, Pharmazeutische und medizinische Chemie, HHU Düsseldorf

Inositols are promising candidates for food supplements due to various health-promoting properties. The InoDH project focuses on the biochemical and structural characterisation of inositol dehydrogenases from Corynebacterium glutamicum to analyse their potential for producing valuable inositol isomers. Based on structural models and molecular dynamics simulations, a selection of inositol dehydrogenases will be made. These will be produced, purified and biochemically characterised. Finally, promising enzyme candidates will be used to establish a process for the cost-effective production of inositol isomers.


6th NRW PhD Day "Future Bioeconomy"

The 6th NRW PhD Day took place on 28 September 2021 as a virtual event, this time on the topic of "Future Food - sustainable and efficient production".

In their welcoming addresses, Prof. Dr. Frauke Melchior (Member of the Board of Directors, Forschungszentrum Jülich) and Dr. Sonja Brandt (Ministry of Culture and Science NRW) addressed the doctoral students directly and emphasised the potential of the bioeconomy as a future employer as well as the importance of networks and the use of diverse, existing opportunities for professional development.

In the first presentation, Dr. Ananya Manna (European Circular Bioeconomy Fund) gave an overview of the highly active bioeconomy start-up landscape in Europe. Dr. Katarzyna Wolińska-Griese (Infarm) and Dr. Britta Winterberg (Formo) then presented innovations that can reduce the carbon footprint of food production. Infarm, for example, produces vegetables directly in the supermarket, eliminating many intermediate steps such as harvesting, packaging and transport. Formo uses bacteria to produce milk that contains almost all the classic components of cow's milk and from which dairy products such as cheese can be made - but without the high CO2 emissions of dairy farming.

Sören Schilasky (Pfeifer & Langen) impressively demonstrated that his company, which is mainly associated with beet sugar products, is developing completely new approaches towards "new sugars". In addition, like all the other speakers, he described his own career path and encouraged the doctoral students to think "outside the box" and to dare to make initiative applications. Finally, Dr. Peter van der Schaft (Axxence Aromatic) vividly presented the range of bio-based production of flavours from bacterial conversions to extraction directly from plants.

In the afternoon, the PhD students, the morning speakers and the coordinators of the organising organisations and graduate schools had an extensive opportunity to discuss issues relating to the bioeconomy and personal career development. Again this year, the NRW PhD Day achieved its goal of bringing together young doctoral researchers from different disciplines and locations in NRW and providing them with a framework for networking and discussion about future developments and career paths in the bioeconomy.


Photo: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Pupils' symposium "Biobased into the future with plants, microbes & co."

On 28 and 29 October, a pupils' symposium focusing on the bioeconomy took place on the Haus Overbach campus in Jülich, organised by the BioökonomieREVIER initiative, the BioSC and the Science College Overbach.

Around 60 students from partner schools of the Science College from all over Germany and Belgium took part in the hybrid event. Exciting insights into their fields were given by Prof. Dr. Christoph Buchal, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr, Dr. Thomas Pütz and Dr. Onno Muller from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Dr. Oliver Bonkamp from Biosecurity Management GmbH, Lars Schäfers from the Catholic Central Office for Social Sciences and Prof. Dr. Claudia Knief and Prof. Dr. Jan Börner from the University of Bonn. Based on the lectures, the school students worked in small groups on issues related to agriculture, food security, land competition, resource transition, the wealth of countries and the participation of society. At the end, each group presented their results in plenary, whereby the self-chosen presentation formats ranged from posters to role plays. In this way, the students were able to expand their knowledge base on the future topic of the bioeconomy in contact with researchers and experts.


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