BONNIGHEIM, ZWINGENBERT, KELHEIM and TUBINGEN — November 7, 2013 — The four partners BRAIN, the
Hohenstein Institute, Kelheim Fibres and rökona, announce the formation of a new research alliance
for the biotechnical production and modification of specialty alginates. The aim of the alliance is
to establish a sustainable microbial bioprocess for the production of specialised alginate
components. The biopolymers should serve a dual purpose: application in high-quality medical
product matrices and within the innovative textile industry.
In addition to the Zwingenberg-based biotechnology company BRAIN AG, the research alliance
involves the Hohenstein Institut für Textilinnovation gGmbH (Bönnigheim), the world’s leading
manufacturer of specialty viscose fibres Kelheim Fibres GmbH (Kelheim) and the manufacturer of
highly specialized materials for medical technology rökona Textilwerk GmbH (Tübingen).
The biopolymer products will be used in both topical and wound-phase specific dressings, as
well as for application-specific modification of matrices in technical textiles. Aside from high
purity and more defined material properties of the biopolymer, the advantage of microbial
production processes is an improvement in the environmental efficiency of products. Parts of the
alliance research project will be co-financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
(BMBF) under grant number 013A126 and the acronym AlBioTex.
“Alongside our partners in the alliance, we want to build a high-quality bio-based matrix
system and at the same time, a sustainable process in terms of the yield and techno-functionality
of the biopolymers”, ex-plains Dr. Guido Meurer, Unit Head Microbial Production Technologies at
BRAIN. “BRAIN has been an active researcher of innovative, supportive, bioactive substances for use
in medical products for several years. These substances are then introduced into appropriate
biological matrices and ultimately into modern wound dressings.”
The primary objective of BRAIN, alongside the Hohenstein Institute, is to develop microbial
production organisms for application in industrial quantities of biopolymers in appropriate
biofermentation processes on an industrial scale. These research results also assist in the common
aim of developing innovative nonwoven materials.
“Until now, the variation and optimization of the material properties of alginate was either
not possible at all, or only possible with immense effort. Through the use of biotechnology, a
differentiated use of alginates is made possible in the specialized textile field for the first
time”, says Dr. Timo Hammer, Head of Research in the Department of Hygiene, Environment and
Medicine at the Hohenstein Institute, and coordinator of the AlBioTex project.
The partners Kelheim Fibres and rökona Textilwerk participate in the alliance by providing
access to high-quality, homogeneous biopolymers. The plan is to develop functional textiles with
new properties and to use them in pilot processes.
“The production of high-quality and homogeneous biopolymers is crucial for our functional
viscose fibers based on renewable resources. Various functionalities expand this range of
innovative fiber properties for new high-tech applications”, says Walter Roggenstein, Head of
Re-search and Development at Kelheim Fibres GmbH.
“The joint research in these two fields, the textile and medical technology industries, is
another prime example of the intensification of the biologization of industries”, concludes Dr.
Holger Zinke, CEO of BRAIN, the motivation behind the research alliance. “Biological knowledge is
the driving force of the bioeconomy and industrial biotechnology is one of its most important
Posted November 12, 2013
Source: Hohenstein Institut