Research at the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics
The aims and activities of the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics with its 40 staff are manifold: They range from the development and validation of modern analytical methods in environmental, food and feed analysis by rapid immunassays and mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to the establishment of metabolomics platforms to study e.g. the interaction between plants and fungi. The preparation and certification of reference materials and the coordination of ring trials and proficiency testing schemes for chemical contamintants is another important area of expertise established at the CAC. The successful research at the CAC has been appreciated with the granting of several highly recognised national and international awards and over 2000 citations of our scientific publications.
Our main research objectives are
- to develop novel sensitive, accurate and validated analytical liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) based methods especially for multi-toxin determination in various types of food and agricultural commodities and to identify mycotoxin biomarkers for improved exposure assesssment of humans and animals to mycotoxins (Research Group on Mycotoxins at the CAC).
- to establish a comprehensive and standardised metabolomics platform for the study of the interaction between plants and fungi to elucidate the role of secondary fungal and plant metabolites (Research Group Metabolomics and Bioactive Substances at the CAC).
- to develop and apply GC-MS and LC-MS-based methods to determine the range of fungal and bacterial secondary metabolites in mouldy indoor samples as a means to obtaining a clearer picture on the health hazards posed by microbes that are prevalent in damp indoor environments (Research Group on Mycotoxins at the CAC, EU Project HITEA).
- to investigate the metabolism of mycotoxins by plants, microbes and animals, to study the fate of masked and bound mycotoxins in vivo and to investigate the microbial interactions of free and bound toxins with a view to identifying possible detoxification routes (Christian Doppler Laboratory for Mycotoxin Metabolism).
- to develop novel mass spectromentric methods and antibody based lateral flow devices (LFD) for the identification and quantification of allergenic proteins in cereals and foods (Research Group Immunoanalytics and Food Allergens at the CAC).
- to develop novel quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) screening methods to identify and quantify specifically the DNA of mycotoxin producing fungi which allow an early classification of potentially contaminated products (in cooperation with the Vienna University of Technology, Research Group Molecular Diagnostics)
- to develop and operate proficiency testing (PT) schemes for water analysis which can be used by laboratories world wide to check voluntarily their analytical performance for a great variety of chemical parameters within interlaboratory comparison studies (Research Group Water Analysis and QA Systems)
According to these topics, our research work falls mainly into the BOKU area of competence 5 (“Food-Nutrition-Health”), but has also relevance e.g. for mycotoxin risk management and renewable resources (competence areas 3 and 4 of the BOKU).