Scientific work mainly concentrates on biofilms on natural and modified surfaces using various microbiological and molecular biology methods.
Research focuses on modern bacterial population analysis on the DNA (genomics) and RNA levels (transcriptomics). Apart from biofilms with model organisms, natural mixed populations are studied. Biofilms in various growth stages are analyzed for their structure, function, and regulation.
Bacteria are perfectly adapted to their constantly changing environment and possess an enormous genetic potential resulting in a variety of stress responses. These molecular reactions to exogenic stressors guarantee survival of the bacteria in the respective habitat and, in case of pathogenic bacteria, also in the host organism.
This capability of surviving even under non-optimum conditions plays an important role in the medical sector, in food industry, and in technical processes, which was realized in recent years only. As a consequence, new elimination methods are being developed for pathogenic/resistant microorganisms and tested for use in technical processes.
Stress responses of bacteria are studied specifically. They serve to repair cell damage caused by UV impacts or counteract damaging agents. By specific in-vivo RNA labeling with non-radioactive markers, taxonomically and functionally relevant genes involved in such processes are detected and used as target structures of alternative elimination methods.
Molecular biology and microbiological equipment
- Biofilm reactors
Population analysis on the basis of ribosomal DNA/RNA by PCR-DGGE, SSCP, and T-RFLP
- Southern, Northern hybridization, and Western detection
Key aspects of research
- Development of biofilms on natural and artificial surfaces
- Behavior of pathogenic bacteria and detection of pathogenicity factors
- Stress-regulated gene expression and microbial risk assessment
- Identification of new molecular points of attack of elimination methods
- Manipulation of biofilms (material, process technology, etc.)