2014_08 Plant Cells On A Chip
The plant kingdom offers more than a million compounds that exist exclusively in plants. Plants have evolved these compounds to manipulate other life forms (from microbes to man) to do jobs for them. No wonder that many of those compounds are medically active.
Technical synthesis of these often complex compounds turns out to be difficult, though. Also their production in biofermenters is a challenge, because often different plant tissues have to cooperate to generate those molecules.
In cooperation with the group of Dr. Andreas Guber at the Institute for Mikrosystems Technology (IMT) of the KIT we succeeded in a five year joint venture to build by means of microfluidic chips a kind of artificial plant tissue that might allow to produce such compounds. The further development of this microfluidic bioreactor, which has been registered for patenting, will now be supported by the Federal Ministry of Research in frame of the programme "New Products in Bio-Economy". The project is scheduled to start in august this year.