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Collaborative Projects as Coordinator

Here you find a list of collaborative research projects which are coordinated or were co-founded by the IPB. They receive third-party funding after a successful application for national or international grants.

Dulcesterol

Purified Hydrophilized Phytosterol Intermediates – From Paper Pulp Waste to High Value Food Additives

Sterols from plant origin are designated as phytosterols. They are similar to the animal derived cholesterol and are used in the food industry as natural components with cholesterol lowering effect. Phytosterols are in the focus of the food and pharmaceutical industry as basis of flavor modifying substances, for improved delivery and adsorption (cf. bile acids) of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals, or as biodetergents.

A potential, cost-saving resource of phytosterols are tall oils, that accumulate as a byproduct during the paper production process. Commonly, the main components of tall oils are fatty acids, resin acids and phytosterols of different compositions depending on the source wood. In this collaborative project, scientists of the Fraunhofer CBP (supervisor PI Gerd Unkelbach) will analyze tall oils of local paper factories and establish methods for their isolation and purification. Subsequently, at the IPB (supervisor Professor Ludger Wessjohann), we will look into the conversion of these natural substances into high value products by use of biocatalytic processes.

In contrast to the common fatty acid acyl derivatives extensively studied before, here the focus lies on the development of new polar intermediates and products of phytosterols. There are sterol scaffolds that obtain their biological activity from hydroxylations and glycosylations (addition of sugar moieties), and this shall be mimicked and expanded to provide usable first processes for further development in the flavor and fragrance (F&F) and food industry. Biocatalytic processes are not only favored for legal, consumer and environmental reasons, but in contrast to most traditional chemical processes they allow the regio- and stereoselective hydroxylation of few or non-activated CH groups in the sterol.

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (EFRE)
Funding period: 04/2017 - 03/2020
Coordinator: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Partner: Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CBP)
Contact: Professor Ludger Wessjohann


PhytoAD

Utilization of natural products for prevention and therapy of dementia and age-related cognitive disorders

Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's Wort)
Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's Wort)

Alzheimer’s disease as the most prevailing age-related neurodegenerative disease is connected to severe reduction of autonomy in the normal course of life. So far, no treatment strategies are available, that stop disease progression.

The aim of the PhytoAD project is to discover plant species and natural products, which can be used for the treatment of age-related cognitive disorders. Furthermore, neuroactive compounds from already applied species, e.g. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) and Greek mountain tea (Sideritis scardica Griseb.) will be characterized and evaluated with regard to improvement of dementia symptoms, cognition and memory. Special emphasis will be on the applied expansion of basic knowledge on the production, purification and effects of neuroactive constituents. Based on phytochemical and phytogenetic characterization, not only defined plant extracts but also single compounds with pharmaceutical potential will be studied. The Department of Bioorganic Chemistry focuses on the preparation and characterization of plant extracts as well as on the isolation and structure elucidation of constituents and their biological activity.

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (EFRE)
Joint Research Project: "Autonomy in old age - Model Region Saxony Anhalt"
Funding Period: 06/2017- 05/2020
Coordinator: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Partner: Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben, and others
Contact: Prof. Dr. Ludger Wessjohann and Dr. Katrin Franke


Leibniz Research Cluster

Bio/Synthetic multifunctional micro-production units - Novel ways in bioactive compound development -

The development of new nature-based bioactive compounds for medicine (e.g. antibiotics, immunomodulators) and for nutritional and agricultural industries (e.g. innovative fungicides, phytoeffectors) is a major challenge for application-oriented research. Solutions for many of these problems can be offered by biotechnology. The LRC "Bio/Synthetic multifunctional micro-production units" is aiming to develop novel cell-free and multifunctional platforms for biotechnological processes. In a unique concept, the LRC unites life sciences and engineering to make use of the emerging synergies. Five institutes from the biological and natural science/engineering sections of the Leibniz Association initiated the LRC. The research of the LRC is mainly carried out by junior research groups in these institutes.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Leibniz Association
Funding Period: 2015 - 2020
Partners:
Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) Halle,
Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute (HKI) Jena (Consortium Manager),
Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS) Dortmund,
Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research (IPF) Dresden,
Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) Saarbrücken
Contact at the IPB: Prof. Dr. Ludger Wessjohann
Website: www.leibniz-research-cluster.de


ERA-CAPS H.I.P.

Homeostasis of Isoprenoid in Plants

Isoprenoids constitute a particularly important class of plant metabolites for many reasons. They include hormones, housekeeping molecules, secondary metabolite terpenoids and are involved in post-translational modification of proteins. Plant terpenoids are particularly relevant for humans, since they are used as pharmaceutical ingredients, fragrance and aroma compounds, insecticides, and specialty chemicals. In plants, these different classes of isoprenoid compounds are produced in extremely different quantities spanning several orders of magnitude, even within a single cell. Glandular trichomes are specialized cells that produce industrially relevant terpenoids and are thus an excellent system for the study of isoprenoid metabolism. These natural cell factories are studied by the group of Prof. Alain Tissier to understand the compartmentalization, flux and transport of isoprenoids in glandular trichomes for non-crop and crop species. The employed approaches include transcriptomics, proteomics, cell biology, interactomics, genetics and metabolomics.

Funding: ERA-NET (European Research Area Network)
Funding period: 2015 - 2020
Coordinator: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry
Partners:
Volcani Center ARO (Israel),
Université catholique de Louvain (Belgien),
University of Amsterdam, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (Netherlands)
Contact person: Professor Alain Tissier
ERA-CAPS H.I.P Website


St. John´s wort against Alzheimer´s Disease

Meeting of a social challenge by new methods for identification, production and application of natural products

The aim of this project is to investigate the molecular background of the effects of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) and other plant extracts to treat dementia and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Hypericum contains hyperforine and hypericine, which are known to cause some desired but also unwanted side effects. Other compounds appear to be relevant for the anti-dementia properties. The project is funded for 3 years by the Leibniz Association within the "Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation".

Funding: Leibniz Competition
Funding period: 05/2015 - 04/2018, extended until 04/2019
Coordinator: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry
Partners:
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben,
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg,
University Oslo,
TU Braunschweig
Contact: Dr. Katrin Franke and Professor Ludger Wessjohann

Further information on the project


ERASynBio SMARTPLANTS

Development of synthetic regulatory networks in plants

A major goal of plant synthetic biology is to create smart plants that are able to respond to key cues and display a variety of agronomically valuable traits such as enhanced stress resilience or the biosynthesis of high value compounds. The objectives of the SmartPlants consortium coordinated by Prof. Alain Tissier are to develop parallel regulatory networks (PaRNets) that are based on cues that plants normally encounter in their growth cycle and to translate these into metabolic engineering-based outputs to produce high value or stress-protecting compounds. Both the regulatory network and the metabolic engineering optimisation procedures will be assisted by modelling in iterative rounds.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research, ERA-NET (European Research Area Networks)
Funding period: 07/2015 - 11/2018
Coordinator: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Partners:
Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (Contact person: Dr. Phil Wigge)
Latvia University of Agriculture (Contact person: Professor Egils Stalidzans)
Contact person: Professor Alain Tissier


This page was last modified on 13.11.2018.

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