The Department focuses on research in the fields of traditional fermentation processes as well as of advanced biotechnologies. Research aims at behavior of microorganisms (genotype and phenotypic expression of cell populations, cell physiology, cell consortia with emphasis on immobilized cells and biofilms, and the behavior of mixed populations); development of new production strains with improved technological properties; studies of unit operations of biotechnological processes, including downstream processing; bioengineering (modeling and simulation of bioprocesses, knowledge-based management); development and applications of biotechnological processes in food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries; and development of biotechnologies for sustainable growth (bioremediation of polluted environment, use of wastes originating from food industry and agriculture as a renewable energy resources). The Department also develops, optimizes and validates analytical methods for biotechnological processes.
Current research topics and areas of expertise:
- Cultivation of microbial populationsin the laboratory bioreactors, optimization and scale-up.
- Process management of packed and free cells bioreactors used in the environment protection.
- Separation of low molecular weight products from the cultivating media using physical-chemical methods.
- Study of physical-chemical interactions of cells with solid surfaces (adhesion, flocculation).
- Evaluation of physiological state of microorganisms and quantification of intracellular substances using fluorescence methods (fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, fluorimetry).
- Physiology of biofilm populations.
- Anti-biofilm properties of natural substances and their application in food industry and medicine.
- Phototrophic microorganisms as sources of biologically active substances
- Responses of various cell lines to the action of low-molecular substances and their mixtures focusing on changes in the vital functions of cells (viability, proliferation, etc.), and study of selected cellular signaling pathways (induction of apoptosis, activation of p53, NFkB, ROS etc.).
- Key steps in the life cycle of retroviruses focusing on folding retroviral particle and its maturation.
- Interaction of nanoparticles and biological systems.
- Degradation intermediates and degradation pathways of environmental pollutants.
- Substances of hops and possible applications of isolated biologically active substances.
- Development of new technologies and new types of beers.
- Development of techniques to increase microbiological, colloidal and sensory stability of beer.
- Research of beer foam, colloidal and sensory stability of beer, brewer's yeast
- The study of microbial contaminants in the brewing processes.
- Increasing the safety of beer and brewing ingredients (fungal contamination of barley and malt, mycotoxins).
- Development of modern analytical methods for the determination of significant technological parameters of beer, wine and brewing ingredients.
Biotechnology in chemical and pharmaceutical industries
- Production of enzymes and their use in preparing a substrate from lignocellulosic materials.
- Production of fermentable substrates from wastes of food and agriculture industry (feathers, straw, cellulosic materials).
- Production of alternative liquid biofuel of biobutanol and bioethanol.
- Targeted and untargeted modification of Clostridium strains to achieve higher production of butanol.
- Microbial production of precursors of bioplastics (succinic and lactic acid).
- Production and use of glycolipid
- Extremophilic yeasts as a source of unsaturated fatty acids.
- Production of recombinant proteins using the microbial cells.
- Production and biological activity of secondary metabolites of fungi Monascus
Biotechnology in environmental protection
- Biological treatment of waste water and waste gas using mesophilic and thermophilic microorganisms
- Genetic and physiological manipulations of bacterial degraders of aromatic pollutants and their use
- Application of biofilm systems for targeted decontamination of toxic substances.
- Application of magnetic field in the biological decontamination of waste water.
Prof. Jan Masak, Ph.D., Department Head
Tel: +420 220 44 4035, E-mail: Jan.Masak@vscht.cz