The Department focuses on research in the fields of traditional fermentation processes as well as of advanced biotechnologies. Research topics include the 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 the unit operations of biotechnological processes, including downstream processing; bioengineering (modeling and simulation of bioprocesses, knowledge-based management); development and application of biotechnological processes in the 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.
- Cultivation of microbial populations in laboratory bioreactors, optimization, and scale-up.
- Process management of packed and free cells bioreactors used in environmental protection.
- Separation of low molecular weight products from the cultivating media using physical-chemical methods.
- Study of the physical-chemical interactions of cells with solid surfaces (adhesion, flocculation).
- Evaluation of the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 physiology.
- The study of microbial contaminants in 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 uses 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 acids).
- Production and use of glycolipid biosurfactants.
- 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 purpureus.
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 fields in the biological decontamination of waste water.