White biotechnology serves the markets of the future – BRAIN develops the required technologies and product innovations.

According to various technical publications, between six and ten per cent of the chemical industry’s global sales of EUR 2,000 billion are generated using methods of industrial or “white” biotechnology. A number of analysts expect to see an enormous growth in products based on biotechnology processes from 2015 onwards.

Experts from industry and science estimate that this segment will account for a good third of global industrial production by the year 2030. The wide-scale switchover to biotechnological methods will be due in part to the increased pressure on European chemical companies to come up with innovations, having relinquished their market dominance to Asia over the past decade. The aim is therefore to step up new capacities that will create access to new markets via innovative technologies.

Markets and fields of application

Major chemical companies all over the world are discovering the innovation potential offered by biotechnology processes and making corresponding investments. This is giving rise to new technologies and expansion potential on a biological basis. As a key driver of economic growth, white biotechnology impacts on very diverse industrial sectors. Many products and processes have already made it to the market and become established. These include enzymes for detergents, bio-fuels, vitamins and amino-acids. Many others are set to follow. So the bioeconomy is no longer merely a vision, but a reality.

Which are the markets where BRAIN operates?

The biotech company and its cooperation partners operate in the relevant markets: in the chemical, cosmetics, food and medical technology industries, as well as in emerging sectors such as green mining. Manufacturers of consumer goods and energy conglomerates are also setting their sights on biotechnology processes for developing novel products and for designing sustainable manufacturing processes.

Innovation alliances

As the coordinator of the NatLifE 2020 innovation alliance, BRAIN brings together players from industry and science to work together in researching, developing and producing natural ingredients for healthier foods and cosmetics that contain bioactive substances.

In the ZeroCarb FP (Zero Carbon Footprint) Alliance, partners from different industries are working on a project to convert carbon-containing industrial waste streams into valuable materials, using microorganisms. Both projects are promoted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Nutrition & Health

Recipes for a global problem

All over the world, chronic ailments pose a greater threat to health than infections (UN study in 2011). This is aggravated by consumer behaviour that focuses on processed foods. Doctors demand that convenience products be made healthier in order to curb lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Roughly one third of costs in the European health system are due to poor eating habits. High dental treatment costs are caused by excessive sugar consumption, as a joint study by the University of Halle-Wittenberg and BRAIN AG shows. Since 2013, several partner companies in the NatLifE2020 strategic alliance coordinated by BRAIN have been successfully looking into innovative solutions for healthier nutrition using natural substitutes. This is based on a technology developed and patented by BRAIN that makes human taste cells available for screening processes.

Green & Urban Mining

Microorganisms as gold-diggers

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 has developed such solutions based on modern biotechnology. One of them is the BRAIN BioXtractor. Learn more about the BRAIN BioXtractor.

Health & Personal Care

Nature helps itself

Modern wound-care strategies are based on biological concepts. Particularly the treatment of chronic wounds, which affect more than three million people in Germany, call for optimal care in addition to the original therapy in order to overcome the barrier to healing. As a biological solution to this still unsolved medical problem, BRAIN has isolated an enzyme that is also used for wound bed healing in connection with maggot therapy. The patented component Aurase is a constituent of medical products that ensure the best possible healing of chronic wounds.

Biobased Chemicals

Wastes as valuable materials

The immense energy needs of emerging economies like India and China are stoking up demand for fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, which will remain the key resources according to a relevant study, with all of the attendant negative CO2 effects. The annual emission of CO2 already amounts to about 29 gigatonnes. Viable future technologies can convert this environmentally harmful greenhouse gas into an alternative raw material that can be put to industrial use. The ZeroCarb FP strategic alliance that was approved for funding by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2013 aims to create functional biomass (e.g. plastics) from carbon-rich waste streams using microorganisms. With several cooperation partners, the alliance is exploring new ways to remove harmful substances by taking a consistently productive approach.


Successfully marketing biotech-based products

Cosmetics are facial skin and body-care products, and are therefore a biological issue. Yet most of these products are based on chemical and petrochemical ingredients. BRAIN approaches cosmetics using natural, bioactive ingredients. Our understanding of skin’s biology has been transposed into an innovative series of products for the face and body in cooperation with the internationally famous brand MONTEIL. Successful products such as SYNIC and Perlance Blanc Pur have been designed and placed on the market through networking with partners along the entire value chain. Other products are set to follow.

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