Future-ready solutions from biodiversity – BRAIN works in the field of modern molecular bionics.

The huge diversity of microorganisms and new microbial processes and products is at the root of the biotechnology success story. Together with forward-looking partners from the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries and from the food, life science and bioenergy sectors, BRAIN is working to establish a sustainable, knowledge-based bioeconomy, which will transform entire industries through innovative biotechnology methods.

I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning

Steve Jobs

From “Toolbox of Nature” to industrial application

BRAIN has captured biological diversity in “Toolbox of Nature”, categorising its various elements and enabling their use for industrial purposes. Based on these unusual resources and its technical expertise, the company makes industrial processes more efficient and offers new answers to the economic challenges of tomorrow and beyond.

Molecular bionics

Drawing inspiration from the microcosm for the macroworld: knowing about biological structures and functions now makes it possible to use processes and materials optimised by evolution for technological innovations on a new and broader basis than ever before. This technology, which is also described as “molecular bionics”, is therefore advancing into dimensions that offer an enormous reservoir of possibilities. Natural principles (the abilities of the microorganisms) are no longer being merely replicated but act as model prototypes that form the basis for new and creative solutions.

Technologies and products

BRAIN’s portfolio comprises various patented special technologies, resources and innovative solutions: EvoSolution® METAGENOME® BRAINzyme® LIL® ABEL® CompActives® BioCompActives®

The BRAIN BioXtractor

There is an increasing demand for precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum or palladium, which are a key resource for many high tech applications. But precious metals are rare and increasingly difficult to find. What can we do about that? Part of the solution is to stop treating precious metals as trash.

It is time to introduce bioeconomy game changer technologies that allow us to treat secondary resources as valuable substances for an ongoing value creation.

BRAIN AG is a German bioeconomy pioneer and has developed such solutions based on modern biotechnology for ‘Urban Mining’ respectively ‘Green Mining’ and in the sense of an efficient circular economy. One of them is the BRAIN BioXtractor.

Learn more about the BRAIN BioXtractor.

Cooperating with BRAIN?


Biological diversity as the foundation

BRAIN’s BioArchive contains some 30,000 comprehensively characterised, cultivable microorganisms as well as a variety of new enzymes and metabolic pathways. This unique collection is permanently expanded and already makes it possible to identify enzymes and natural substances that have not yet been characterised, providing new access to as yet uncultivable biodiversity.

Culture Collections and Habitats

  • Aerobic & anaerobic eubacteria­, actino­bacteria, extremophiles, ­marine & terrestrial fungi, microalgae, archaea, myxobacteria
  • Enriched biodiversity of defined ­habitats


  • DNA libraries of uncultivated bio­diversity
  • Activity-Based Expression Libraries (ABEL®) and Large Insert Libraries (LIL®)

CompActive® Libraries

  • Compound Libraries of natural and easily scalable chemical compounds for Bio­Active Screening

Bioactive natural substances

Innovative ingredients for new products

In its BioArchive, BRAIN identifies and develops bioactive natural substances for product developments in the food, cosmetics and chemical industries. Specific production strains are used to create biosynthetic metabolic pathways. A modular toolbox makes it possible to develop specific assay methods.

Screening Biodiversity

  • Using human receptors expressing cell-based assay toolboxes
  • For novel bioactive ingredients in food, feed, cosmetics and consumer products
  • For performance BioActives with physico-chemical effects

Recombinant Biologics

  • From gene to process: heterologous expression of genes and complete gene clusters in improved production strains
  • Combinatorial biosynthesis and ­compound modification
  • Fermentation and production of ­BioActives

Production strains & designer microorganisms

Customised solutions for optimised processes

The design and refinement of multi-step conversion paths for the biosynthesis of chemicals from renewable raw materials, say, or industrial waste streams, is performed on the basis of the BioArchive, in order to convert organic compounds into products that can be used as materials. BRAIN develops customised designer microorganisms as the functional biomass for optimised industrial production processes.

Optimised producer strains

  • Pathway engineering for the ­chemical, bioenergy and biopolymer markets
  • Designer bugs comprising novel synthetic­ pathways and artificial ­operons from metagenome resources

Producer Strain Development

  • Strain optimisation and pathway engineering
  • Multistep bioconversion for high production yield

Enzymes & biocatalysts

Ideal properties for complex requirements

BRAIN develops new or optimised enzymes and biocatalysts that meet complex process and application requirements. The integrated approach taken combines a search for ideal enzyme properties with the development and establishment of innovative technical production processes.

From Soil to Activity

  • Novel enzymes and biocatalysts from cultivated and uncultivated bio­diversity
  • Activity- and sequence-based screening­ principles for LIL® and ABEL® DNA libraries­

Enzymes for Industrial Applications

  • Proprietary and optimised enzymes to enable novel and improved processes
  • Engineering and optimisation of novel sequence variants
  • Pre-characterised enzyme libraries to speed up development lines
  • Enzyme expression, fermentation and production

Insights Related topics

Selected Scientific Publications

Hypotonic stress response of human keratinocytes involves LRRC8A as component of volume‐regulated anion channels

Trothe J, Ritzmann D, Lang V, et al. Hypotonic stress response of human keratinocytes involves LRRC8A as component of volume‐regulated anion channels. Exp Dermatol. 2018;27:1352–1360.

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A novel TMEM16A splice variant lacking the dimerization domain contributes to calcium‐activated chloride secretion in human sweat gland epithelial cells

Ertongur-Fauth, T., Hochheimer, A., Buescher, J. M., Rapprich, S. and Krohn, M. (2014), A novel TMEM16A splice variant lacking the dimerization domain contributes to calcium-activated chloride secretion in human sweat gland epithelial cells. Exp Dermatol, 23: 825–831.

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Marker-free genome editing in Ustilago trichophora with the CRISPR-Cas9 technology

Simon Huck, Josephine Bock, Jörg Girardello, Marc Gauert & Ümit Pul (2018) Marker-free genome editing in Ustilago trichophora with the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, RNA Biology, DOI: 10.1080/15476286.2018.1493329

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Using gas mixtures of CO, CO2 and H2 as microbial substrates

Ralf Takors, Michael Kopf, Joerg Mampel, Wilfried Bluemke, Bastian Blombach, Bernhard Eikmanns, Frank R. Bengelsdorf, Dirk Weuster‐Botz, Peter Dürre
First published: 14 May 2018,

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BRAIN BioXtractor: Biobased Metal Extraction for the Circular Economy

Gabor, Esther M. | Hoffmann, Benedikt | Deichmann, Thomas: Industrial Biotechnology, Vol. 14, No. 2, April 2018, Pages 68-73.

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In vitro skin three-dimensional models and their applications

Klicks, Julia, von Molitor, Elena, Ertongur-Fauth, Torsten, Rudolf, Rüdiger, Hafner, Mathias, Journal of Cellular Biotechnology, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 21-39, 2017

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Human cell-based taste perception – a bittersweet job for industry

K. Riedel, D. Sombroek, B. Fiedler, K. Siems and M. Krohn, Nat. Prod. Rep., 2017, Advance Article

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Healthcare Costs Associated with an Adequate Intake of Sugars, Salt and Saturated Fat in Germany

Meier, T., Senftleben, K., Deumelandt, P., Christen, O., Riedel, K., Langer, M., PLOS, September 9, 2015

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Artist’s impressions