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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-05-01 - 2020-04-30

Modern circular bioeconomy concepts undoubtedly involve the generation of value-added products by using modern, specific and efficient technologies. Enzymes as powerful biocatalysts are already used in many biorefineries. In the pulp and paper industry, environmentally friendly enzyme based processes such as for deinking, bleaching or refining have been developed more than 20 years ago, while implementation is still restricted due to the high enzymes cost. On the other hand, valuable components like residual cellulose fibres in waste streams, such as from deinking of recycled paper are currently under-exploited. Similarly, due to various reasons nitrogen rich waste streams from abattoirs are primarily used for energy production. Building on these facts, the major aim of this InduZyme project is the in-house production of enzymes used in the P & P and waste processing industries using cellulose present in deinking sludge as carbon source and abattoir waste as a nitrogen source and source of other essential nutrients for microbial growth. The use of such waste streams, consequently not only leads to value added products namely enzymes (InduZymes) that are required by these industrial partners at lower cost but also reduces the amount of waste generated in the respective industrial processes . Hence, the InduZyme concept, after subsequent optimization and industrial scale-up will allow the companies to save cost both due to on-site enzyme production and due to converting waste difficult to dispose into valuable products. In detail, the tasks of InduZyme will involve enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose fiber in deinking sludge in order to produce valuable sugars as carbon source for microbial enzyme production. Thereby, the nitrogen as well as other essential nutrients needed for microbial growth will be recovered from protein rich abattoir waste streams. Enzyme production will be accessed for e.g. cellulases, hemicellulases, lipases, proteases needed by the same industries for e.g. deinking and production of biodiesel, amongst for other enzyme based processes. This concept is novel and economically attractive since in contrast to many other concepts a market and demand for the value-added biorefinery products (i.e. the enzymes) already exists within the companies.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2015-01-01 - 2015-09-30

On the 1st of January 2015, a new project submission and management system for the project financed by Land Niederösterreich comes into effect. The present proposal was written to continue and complete the project: “Development and characterization of multi-functional bio-based composites” through a new project, also to comply with the new European regulations. The proposed time-period is 01/01/2015 till 30/09/2015. The new project is designed to continue the financial support for Miss Pauline Rivière PhD study, which has started in October 2012 within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE) project BIOFUNK, in order to complete the ongoing PhD project.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-06-01 - 2021-05-31

The application of biologic soil additives based on beneficial microbes is an interesting and durable alternative to existing fertilizing methods. A mixture of beneficial microbes will be developed, optimized to control the fungal genus Fusarium. Fusarium diseases on small grain cereals (Fusarium head blight, FHB) and on maize (Fusarium ear rot, FER) are one of the most relevant problems in agriculture. FHB and FER induce yield losses but of main concern are quality losses due to contamination of the grain with mycotoxins that are harmful to humans and animals. Maximum toxin content in food is worldwide regulated. To date, no effective control of FHB/FER is possible: an integrated approach with proper soil preparation, crop rotation, use of fungicides and resistant plant varieties is advised but innovative control strategies are urgently needed. Fusarium causing FHB and FER can only survive in intact infected crop debris on which the fungus produces spores in the next spring. The spores can reach the flowering cereal or maize ear where infection can occur. The development of a preventive microbial soil or plant additive reducing the production of spores on crop debris or increasing plant resistance is a promising approach to control Fusarium. By reducing inoculum, infection pressure and probability of toxin contamination will be reduced. We follow 4 complementary strategies to reach our goal. We will select microbes that: 1) are specialised in fast decay of the crop debris. Fusarium cannot survive in the soil and uses colonized crop debris as a refugium. 2) show an antagonistic activity against Fusarium, inhibiting growth and sporulation on the crop debris. 3) induce systemic induced resistance: this strategy activates the natural plant defence mechanisms. 4) We will apply Ca2+, Mg2+ and Si3+. These cations enforce plant wall strength and Mg2+ inhibits mycotoxin production. 5) A mixture of microbes acting via mechanism of 1-3 plus 4, resulting in additive effect on Fusarium. To reach our goals we follow an approach of selection of microbes in the lab and greenhouse, in small field plots and in field experiments. The result will be a new product composed of a mixture of several microbes controlling Fusarium via complementary mechanisms. A company will be founded to commercialise the innovative product. The product will reduce the risk for toxin contaminated grains used for food and feed and will in the end contribute to public health.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations