Issue 17, August 2011
bulletGermany - Land of Biotechnology
bulletInnovation: Healthy, Lupin-Based Ice Cream
bulletEvent: Better Living Through Science: Biotech, Food and the Future
bulletInterview: Prof. Karl-Heinz Kogel on Gluten-Free Grains and Plant Health
bulletPlastics Made from Peas
bulletBio-Based Research for a Sustainable Economy
article1Germany - Land of Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a key driver of innovation for many industries. From medicine and food to energy and agriculture, bio-based innovations are in great demand and they are providing new solutions to the challenges faced by industrial societies in the 21st century.
As the global need for sustainable solutions has increased, the German biotech sector has responded. A recent survey by Germany's federal biotechnology platform,, reported a turnover of 2.4 billion euros, record financing of 700 million euros, and an increase in the number of employees in the commercial biotech sector to around 32,500 in 2010. The total number of German biotechnology companies rose to 538. According to the survey, the majority of the biotech firms founded in 2010 focus on medical biotechnology, with half of the newcomers located in the Munich area. Based on the number of biotech companies by state, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Berlin-Brandenburg have been the traditional leaders, followed by North-Rhine Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatine, and Saxony. To learn more about Germany's biotechnology landscape, visit Follow us on Twitter @GCRI_NY for biotech news and innovations made in Germany, including the plant-based lupin ice cream and plastics made from peas.  

article2Innovation: Healthy, Lupin-Based Ice Cream
Summer without ice cream? For many, this would be unimaginable, but individuals who are lactose intolerant often have to find other options. Fraunhofer researchers have developed LUPINESSE, ice cream produced from indigenous lupin, a common garden perennial, that is completely free of lactose, gluten, cholesterol, animal proteins, and fats. This is the first time that scientists have been able to create a pure vegetable ice cream product from lupins. The secret behind the ice cream lies in the selection of the lupin variety and a special production method. Blue sweet lupin is particularly rich in protein, has a balanced flavor, flourishes when grown in Germany, and improves soil quality with its nitrogen-binding roots. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany, use the high-quality protein from the seeds to make the ice cream. In addition to providing a creamy consistency, the lupin protein adds nutritional value through its cholesterol-regulating effects. LUPINESSE has been available in selected German supermarkets since May 2011 and comes in four flavors: Vanilla-Cherry, Strawberry-Mousse, Walnut Dream and Choco-Flakes.
Prolupin GmbH, a spinoff of the IVV, is in charge of producing and marketing the ice cream. The company, headquartered in Neubrandenburg, Germany, cooperates with "PlantsProFood - Food from the Blue Sweet Lupin," a growers' initiative sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. LUPINESSE is produced by Helados Alacant according to recipes devised by Fraunhofer developers. For more information, click here.

article3Event: Better Living Through Science: Biotech, Food and the Future
New innovations in biotechnology are rapidly changing the world around us, particularly in the fields of nutrition and medicine. Driven by dramatic advances in knowledge and the development of new technologies, plant biotechnology has developed into a highly competitive international field of research which links rapid progress with major economic interests. While it is just one field of bioscience, plant biotechnology combines scientific findings and applied research in an exemplary manner. In one instance of plant biotech's impact on nutrition and medicine, efforts to develop gluten-free wheat could have an enormous impact on the quality of life of those suffering from Celiac disease. With these advances, new questions arise for the global populace. How will these advances in biotech directly impact our lives and our economy? What policy maneuvers are being implemented in the U.S. and Germany to support this groundbreaking research and bring it to market? How do policy and public opinion influence biotechnology's role in food production in the U.S. and Germany? Join our experts from research, industry, and policy as they discuss biotechnology's ever-evolving role in feeding, fueling, and healing the world.
This event, which will take place at the German Center for Research and Innovation on September 13, 2011, is co-sponsored by the German State of Hessen U.S. Office for Economic Development and presented in cooperation with the New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA). For more information, click here.

Prof. Kogel
article4Interview: Prof. Karl-Heinz Kogel on Gluten-Free Grains and Plant Health

Prof. Karl-Heinz Kogel is the Head of the Department of Phytopathology at the Institute of Phytopathology and Applied Zoology at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen. His current research topics encompass plant biotechnology, hypoallergenic plants, as well as food safety research concerning contaminations with Fusarium toxins. Prof. Kogel recently co-authored an article entitled Gluten-Free Wheat: New Hope for Celiac Patients? and spent a sabbatical year at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, NY. To read his complete bio, please click here.
On September 13, at the GCRI event "Better Living Through Science: Biotech, Food and the Future," he will discuss plant biotechnology and its impact on nutrition and medicine, particularly efforts to develop gluten-free wheat that could have an enormous impact on the quality of life of those suffering from celiac disease.
In the GCRI Interview, Prof. Kogel talks about gluten-free wheat as a hope for celiac disease sufferers and the key challenges in developing new gluten-free cultivars of wheat. He also addresses the achievements and role of plant biotechnology for human health and the connection between plant root diseases and climate change.  To read the interview, click here.


article5Plastics Made from Peas
Petroleum-based plastics are non-biodegradable, and, until now, the process used to recycle these materials has been time-consuming and uneconomical. PolyNature GmbH, a spinoff of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, has developed a cost-effective solution.
Dr. Patrick Frohberg, Managing Director of PolyNature, created biopolymers, which are derived from naturally-occurring vegetable and animal proteins, such as peas and milk. The biopolymers are therefore non-toxic, biodegradable, compostable, and even edible. These properties make the biopolymers favorable for use in a number of areas, including agriculture, electronics, medicine, packaging, and the automotive industry. Dr. Frohberg and Isabell Stolte, a bioengineer who has been collaborating with him since 2009, decided to launch their product in February 2011. Since the product launch, not only have they developed a variety of products, including mulching film and seed tape, they have also provided engineering and research and development services to customers in a variety of fields. In the near future, PolyNature is planning to expand into other market sectors, such as natural cosmetics, pharmacy and biomedicine. On July 21, 2011, PolyNature GmbH was awarded as a "365 Selected Landmarks in the Land of Ideas" of the Germany - Land of Ideas initiative. For more information, click here.

article6Bio-Based Research for a Sustainable Economy
By 2050, twice as much food will be required to feed the world's population. The effects of climate change will be clearly felt and the reserves of fossil resources will be drastically reduced. In this situation, renewable raw materials will play a key role for food, production processes and energy supply.
Against this background, the newly founded Bioeconomy Science Center's (BioSC) central research topics include sustainable crop production, new biomass process technologies, and the use of microorganisms for the production of foods, biofuels, and raw materials. At BioSC, researchers also conduct economic feasibility analyses of new "bio-based," biotechnological approaches, and investigate their social acceptance. The first center of its kind in Europe, the interdisciplinary BioSC is located in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia. A joint initiative between the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Bonn University, the University of Düsseldorf, and RWTH Aachen University, BioSC pools the expertise of more than 1,200 employees at 54 institutes with a budget of third party funding of approximately 30 million euros annually. Opened in October 2010, BioSC is already embedded in several regional, national, and international bioeconomy activities and participates in 30 bioeconomy projects in the EU alone. For more information please click here.