Interfacial biology and hygiene – Microorganisms on surfaces

Microorganisms like fungi and bacteria are omnipresent in nature and play an important role in all elemental-circuits. Therefore they are of vital importance to the continuity of ecosystems. They are even useful assistants to men: We employ them for brewing beer, baking bread, cleaning waste water or producing vitamins and antibiotics.

Though most of the time their adverse effects are detected so much faster: Contaminations in medical departments and industrial productionlines bring immense costs and cause heavy losses by rotting raw material or producing toxic by-products.

At Fraunhofer IGB the relevance of biofilms was detected and their application promoted very early, for example to produce valuable products or to clean industrial and municipal wastewater. But as well their avoidance and abatement ist encouraged by innovative techniques. These requirements raised the demand for effective qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods to detect surfacebound microorganisms in medical engineering, construction and technical applications. Furthermore, we develop solutions to use microbial and mammalian cells as biosensors, for example monitoring of drinking water.

Fields of research

Detection of microorganisms

Biological characterization of antimicrobial and photocatalytic surfaces

Biofilms – characterization and avoidance

Alarm systems for the monitoring of drinking and process water

Inactivation of microorganisms for the decontamination of surfaces