About ourselves - Biotechnology Division


The range of services offered by the Biotechnology Division is based on 20 years of experience in research and development for the cultivation of phototropic micro-organisms. The staff – natural scientists, constructors, technicians, technologists and technical personnel – have extensive and well-founded knowledge of the development of procedures and installations, the research and analysis of active substances and of product design. Good, world-wide contacts to biomass producers, food producers, to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry provide the fundament for innovative, market-oriented developments  

Statistical data concerning the Division

Algae are amongst the oldest plant organisms to have inhabited the world.
Fossilised remains of this plant group, which today comprises at least 30,000 species, became known from the Cambrian Age, i.e. are roughly 570 million years old.
It is estimated that the group of algae living in fresh and salt water comprises the microscopically small single-cell variety (micro-algae), as well as the up to 50 metre long giant kelp (macro-algae), that it assimilates roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide and biosynthesises the same amount of organic substances each year as the higher plants.
Phototropic micro-algae are used increasingly frequently as food and animal-feed additives, as a source of protein, vitamins, valuable metabolites and human-medicine preparations, in aqua-cultures, in systems for the cleaning and regeneration of waste water.
The individual algae differ above all through various combinations of their assimilation dyes as well as through different reserve substances developed in the photosynthesis. The varying dyes of the algae determine the differing colouring by which blue, green, brown and red algae are distinguished.
Micro-algae are

  • the first oxygen producers on Earth

  • the most important recent consumers of CO2

  • the start of the nutrition chain in oceans

  • the most important primary producers in the world

Over millions of years, these micro-organisms succeeded in producing the Earth’s oxygen atmosphere, fossil fuels, mineral sediments such as stromalites, as well as basic nutrition for animals and humans, from CO2, sunlight and minerals.

Depending on the type of algae and the growth conditions, micro-algae have a broad spectrum of high-quality components. Amongst other things, they stand out through

  • high protein contents with the complete spectrum of essential and non-essential amino acids

  • carbohydrates, in particular high-molecule and complexly formed polysaccharides

  • fats and fatty acids such as linolenic and linoleic acid, as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids

  • minerals and trace elements such as calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium and selenium

  • pigments such as phyco cyanine, chlorophyll, carotinoids and xanthophylls

  • vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin C and the B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12.

Thanks to the wide varieties of high-quality components, combined with new research results which document the health-benefiting effects of algae production, new areas of application, above all in the fields of food supplements, functional foods, dietetics, cosmetics and pharmacy, are becoming increasingly important.

Amongst European companies, the historically-developed  involvement in the field of phyco colloids such as alginate or agar is no longer clearly dominant; rather, this has now been surpassed by the interest in bio-active substances from algae, in particular for cosmetics and for use in the field of food/animal feed.

A growth in the significance of micro-algae biotechnology has been apparent world-wide for approximately five years; the emphasis of this lies in the production of valuable substances from micro-algae and their use in areas of relevance for the environment.

In this respect, the main areas of activity of the Division -as an integral component of the IGV Institut für Getreideverarbeitung GmbH - have been defined as follows:

  1. Technical- technological developments
  • New and further development of photo bioreactor technology
  • Integrated systems for the production and application of micro-algae
  • Development of new concepts for biomass separation
  • Drying technologies
  • Extraction techniques and technologies
  1. Active substances from algae
  • Screening for relevant active substances for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications
  • Characteristics of active substances
  • Formulation of active substances
  • Procedures for the isolation of active substances

Partners

Scheffler Plantafood GmbH, www.scheffler.de

Energia Plus, www.energiaplus.de