Research

Production of biopolymers via transgenic plants

Genetic engineering has the potential to broaden the spectrum of plant-based biomaterials via introducing the biosynthetic pathway for novel compounds from organisms that can only be grown with huge efforts and costs, into crop plants. In collaboration with several interdisciplinary partners we established the production of the cyanobacterial biopolymer Cyanophycin in tobacco, potato and pea, yielding up to 9.4% per dry weight, conducted biosafety analysis in field trails and developed a simple purification protocol. Cyanophycin can serve both to substitute petroleum based products as well as for the production Arginine-Aspartate-Dipeptides which can be used to increase the nutritional value of feed for livestock. Currently we extend the metabolic pathway of Cyanophycin in plants in order to produce the dipeptides in planta or in plant extracts so that the plants can be directly used as feed without any purification.

Plants as alternative production platform for pharmaceutical proteins - "Plant Made Pharmaceuticals"

Plant production systems  can require lower process complexity with lower costs compared to animal cell culture systems. They sometimes have increased immunogenicity, do not contain human pathogens, but can - in contrast to bacteria- realize necessary protein-modifications. In plant seeds, proteins can be stored without cooling for a long time and oral administration of medication is simplified. The downstream processes can be considerably reduced. At the Chair of Agrobiotechnology, various recombinant vaccines and therapeutic proteins are produced in different plants species such as pea, potato or tobacco for veterinary use but also to controll rodents. The effect of the plant made pharmaceuticals on animals is analyzed in cooperation with various partners.