Four Germany-based partners BRAIN, the Hohenstein Institute, Kelheim Fibres and rökona, have announced 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 specialized 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 GmbH (Bönnigheim), a leading manufacturer of specialty viscose fibers 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 the 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,” says 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.
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.