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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-07-01 - 2023-06-30

Oats (Avena sativa L.) are an important crop in modern conventional and organic crop production systems. Nevertheless, the oats acreage in the European Union has decreased from about 3.1 million to 2.6 million hectares in recent years. With the decline in oat acreage in favour of other small-grain cereals such as wheat or maize, breeding activities in this traditional crop have also decreased. However, the cultivation of oats can significantly contribute to loosening crop rotation and increasing agrobiodiversity in farming, while oats are also considered a nutrient-rich food and feed. Saatzucht Edelhof, based in the Waldviertel, is a traditional Austrian plant breeding company that has been involved in oats breeding since the beginning of the 20th century and is currently the only breeder of new oat varieties in Austria. Through years of expanding and utilising the genetic diversity of its oat gene pool, Saatzucht Edelhof has a broad portfolio of modern oat varieties, both for the Austrian and international markets. There is therefore also considerable interest from foreign partner companies in Saatzucht Edelhof's oat varieties, and many varieties have already been registered in several European countries. With the increase in disease and pest pressure due to climate change and the striving towards a more sustainable agriculture with less agrochemical inputs such as fungicides, resistance breeding has become more and more a focus in recent years. Infection of oats used for food and feed by Fusarium fungi plays an especially important role: If oat panicles are infested with Fusarium graminearum during the flowering phase, a high concentration of fungal toxins (=mycotoxins) that are harmful to humans and animals can later be found in the harvested crop. The breeding of Fusarium-resistant oat varieties can thus be seen as a key technology to enable farmers to produce healthy and mycotoxin-free crops. However, the adequate assessment of Fusarium resistance in oats is a great challenge, e.g. due to the special flowering behaviour with a long and sequential flowering of the individual spikelets within each panicle. The OatToxLess project aims to develop the basis for the development of a scoring scheme for Fusarium resistance in oats and to investigate the possibility to use associated morphological traits as indirect selection. For this purpose, a panel of breeding lines and oat varieties will be investigated in a field trial to collect high quality data as a basis for developing an effective Fusarium screening method in oats in order to guide selection decisions in oat breeding programs.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2023-05-31

To strengthen the BOKU Core Facilities "Bioactive Molecules: Screening and Analysis" (BMOSA) and "Analysis of Lignocellulosics" (ALICE), an ERDF project for the acquisition of new high-performance infrastructure is being submitted to the Federal State of Lower Austria as part of the REACT-EU initiative. The planned purchases in the field of instrumental analytics will ensure that the two core facilities at the Campus Technopol Tulln site can continue to be operated in accordance with state-of-the-art technology in the future. In this way, access to the most modern large-scale equipment infrastructure can be guaranteed for a wide range of users both within BOKU and for third parties in the coming years. The planned investments ensure the continuous further development of the respective working- and research areas of BOKU and thus also sustainably strengthen the Campus Technopol Tulln as a research location.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-04-01 - 2026-03-31

Currently fossil fuels are not only the main energy source for chemical industry, but also the most important feedstock, as more than 90% of products from chemical industry are derived from fossil resources. To achieve the climate goals and reduce CO2 emissions, alternative processes are necessary in chemical industry, that can avoid the utilization of fossil ressources. Olefins are among the most important intermediate chemicals in industry which are produced in a multimillion ton scale. In this project we propose a process combining biocatalytic and electrocatalytic steps to convert biomass or food waste into gaseous olefin products such as ethylene. The biocatalytic step converts the complex waste substrate into soluble carboxylic acids, which are converted in a subsequent electrocatalytic step into olefins. This process allows the sustainable production of olefins, without using fossil ressources or fuels, as the main energy input will be electrically, allowing the utilization of renewable electricity. This can be a starting point for the implementation of environmentally more friendly processes in chemical industry. The project consortium includes the Centre of electrochemical and surface technology (CEST) in Wiener Neustadt, the Department of Agrobiotechnology of BOKU in Tulln and Borealis AG in Schwechat and thereby combines institutions with longstanding expertise on all relevant topics,

Supervised Theses and Dissertations