In collaboration with the company Labor Dr. Merk & Kollegen GmbH and the Institute of Virology at the University of Ulm, the ILM is developing an innovative detection system for the early diagnosis of influenza virus infections in pharyngeal secretions.
SYMBIOSIS, the new business unit of Heidelberg-based Biopharm GmbH, offers a wide range of analytical services, including tests, detection methods and methodological innovations related to the development of classical pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals. SYMBIOSIS is a GMP- and GLP-certified provider of analytical services with long-standing experience and know-how that combines high-quality, state-of-the-art methods and solutions for its life sciences industry clients under one roof.
Consumers – in other words, all of us – rightly expect to be supplied with healthy, high-quality and safe foods. However, over the past few years, food scandals have frequently hit the headlines. They are brought to light in laboratories that have a huge arsenal of methods and procedures to analyse food. Although the media would have us believe otherwise, the vast majority of foods are safe and very rarely hazardous to human health. This is in large part due to the food industry which has a vital, and more importantly, economic, interest in the analytically-based quality control of the food it sells.
Bioactive substances are the speciality of BioTeSys GmbH an Esslingen-based biotech company. The company works with a range of products including cosmetics plant and berry extracts and low-dosage non-prescription food supplements. BioTeSys investigates the efficacy of the active ingredients of such products as well as the raw materials used to manufacture them.
Ulm-based varionostic helps epigenetics researchers to obtain information on gene activity. The company is specifically focused on the analysis of methyl groups (-CH3) that are attached to DNA and turn genes on and off. Just as the field of epigenetics, previously only known to insiders, has emerged as a biomedical area of research, the University of Ulm spin-off has matured and grown over the past six years since it was set up.
Gene therapy approaches are increasingly being used for treating life-threatening diseases in humans. GeneWerk GmbH, a spin-off of the DKFZ and the NCT in Heidelberg, offers customised, high-resolution molecular and bioinformatic analyses that ensure the efficacy and safety of gene therapy and immunotherapy studies.
Biametrics Marken and Rechte GmbH has developed new analytical devices based on reflectometric interference spectroscopy thus adopting the trend of label-free detection methods. This is because labelling tends to interfere with the natural activity of the biomolecules under investigation.
The two chemists Boris Mizaikoff and Christine Kranz have a great deal in common they are married to each other they have children together and they work at the same university on projects that combine technologies and methods to create multifunctional analytical platforms at the Department of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry at Ulm University.
In the not-too-distant future, food analysts hope they will be able do more than just detect mycotoxin traces and determine the concentration of individual nutrients such as vitamin C. Their ambition is in fact much broader: “We would like to understand the nutritional and physiological effect of food,” said Prof. Sabine Kulling from the Max Rubner Institute in Karlsruhe. As with other life sciences areas, metabolomics is seen as a key technology for research into issues relating to the quality and safety of food.
How do you find out if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Up until now the police had to visually inspect and assess test strips in order to convict a drunken or doped driver. Lörrach-based Protzek Gesellschaft für Biomedizinische Technik mbH have improved this situation with the development of a mobile system that uses objective criteria to quantitatively analyse drugs and medications on site.
How do consumers know whether the food item they have purchased actually is the product with the desired properties or whether the packaging promises more than the product actually delivers? This is not a judgement that can be made based on the product’s appearance or taste. Only analytical methods can get to the bottom of the molecules inside the food item. Prof. Dr. Walter Vetter at the Institute of Food Chemistry at the University of Hohenheim and his team of researchers work on verifying the authenticity of food.
Science constantly provides researchers with new challenges biologists and bioanalysts have to deal with and which come from sources as varied as the ever increasing number of resistant pathogenic bacterial strains or the famine conditions in Third-World countries. In the search for scientific truths bioanalysis is the development optimization and application of the entire range of analytical methods available. However we need to keep in mind that although this leads to an expansion of knowledge the truth is only temporary.
Why do consumers like the taste of some foods and dislike the taste of others? Gertrud Winkler Professor of nutrition and food sciences at the Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences is focusing on precisely these questions. In her endeavour to promote healthy nutrition Winkler has been involved in developing flour enriched with folic acid and has also done a great deal of work on creating optimised diets for children and adolescents.
Viruses and bacteria are the lifeblood of GATC a family-run biotechnology company that is continuing to grow in spite of the current economic downturn. At the moment GATC is working on the sequence of one particular vegetable - and the company has submitted a building application to add another 1000 square metres to the existing 800.
k-labor GmbH focuses on the initial inspection of samples for the automotive industry and the testing of a broad range of different materials. k-labor also specialises in environmental simulations and durability testing and offers consulting and the transfer of technologies in the plastics sector.
The research and analyses carried out by the Max Rubner Institute are aimed at protecting consumer health. The institute investigates the contamination of meat and fish and also focuses on the health benefits of food additives and the future of functional food.
As a chemistry student in the 1980s, Thomas Class focused on the investigation of environmental toxins such as dioxin and PCB under the supervision of Professor Karlheinz Ballschmiter. Back then, everybody was talking about the “environment”. The public as well as students and professors at the University of Ulm were all fascinated by the subject. Ulm University institutes were renamed to reflect this interest in the environment. While some of the institutes’ names later changed once again, Dr. Class has retained the same interests and has even stayed in the same place, at the “Eselsberg” site, which also houses the University of Ulm campus. However, rather than pursuing an academic career, in 1992 Class decided to establish PTRL Europe GmbH, a contract research company.
A team from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Stuttgart University has found a chemical substitute for one of the four primary DNA building blocks, i.e. thymine. Thymine can cause problems in DNA hybridisation experiments. The thymine substitute called “E”, which stands for ethynylpyridone, binds more strongly and selectively with the adenine base on the complementary DNA strand than thymine. Highly specific DNA tests might benefit from the use of E.
Around 6,000 genetic diseases can be diagnosed using genetic tests. Genetic testing enables the accurate identification of diseases especially when symptoms are unclear, and also allows statements to be made about disease progression. However, restrictive regulations considerably hinder the use of genetic diagnostics. BIOPRO spoke with Dr. Dr. Saskia Biskup, a human genetics specialist and co-founder of the Tübingen-based company CeGaT.
German manufacturers of analytical, bio- and laboratory technologies achieved considerable growth in 2008, and the sector is cautiously optimistic about 2009. According to calculations produced by the SPECTARIS industry association, this industry sector (about 330 companies) achieved sales revenues in 2008 that were about eight percent higher (up 6.2 billion euros) than in 2007.
CeCo Labs UG, founded as a spin-off from the University of Tübingen, has developed an internationally unique method for isolating bacterial cell walls. These are used in research to investigate antibiotic resistance, for example. Unlike conventional techniques, the method developed by CeCo Labs is able to supply a very high number of ultra-pure cell walls extremely quickly. Orders have already been placed by customers across the globe.
Esslingen-based BioTeSys GmbH is contracted by its clients to determine the bioactive potential of substances and substance mixtures of foods and dietary supplements. Substances are tested whether or not they have a positive effect on human health using a range of chemical analyses, cell-based tests and clinical trials.