The research activities at the Institute for Environmental Biotechnology (UT) focus to the exploitation of the microbial metabolism to safeguard the quality of life and preserve natural resources. On the one hand, emphasis is put on degradation or detoxification of pollutants (in soil, water and waste) or the development of monitoring methods to evaluate the success of restoration technologies. On the other hand, the best possible utilization of existing resources by establishment of sustainable material cycles is the central aim of research conducted. Apart from the investigation of microbial processes, enzymes are exploited as powerful biocatalysts for (bio)material processing, in recycling applications and in bioenergy production.
Practical application and process development for technical implementation are a primary concern independent from fundamental mechanistic investigation of the underlying microbiological activities and enzyme catalyzed reactions. Examples are the scale up of fermentation processes, the development of technical remediation methods and the testing of innovative combined biological-physical processes (e.g. use of membrane bioprocesses) in environmental technology.
The Institute has excellent equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art infrastructure microbiology, enzyme technology and bioprocess engineering including analytical instruments and a pilot plant for fermentation processes (up to 6000 litres). This forms the basis for a high number of industrial research cooperations and basic research projects.
The applied research orientation is best demonstrated in the composition of the department's personnel: the team consists of BOKU staff and staff from research centers like ACIB or Bioenergy2020 - about 100 persons at the average whereof 80% are project collaborators and the residiual is permanent staff.
Internationality is lived day by day, since up to 10 different nations are represented by free financed colleagues and students.
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