Molecular Phytopathology and Renewable Resources

AG Prof. Dr. Bruno Moerschbacher
© Stefan Hoffmann

General information

  • We are an international group of ca. 30 BSc and MSc students, doctoral and post-doctoral researchers as well as ...

    We are an international group of ca. 30 BSc and MSc students, doctoral and post-doctoral researchers as well as research technicians, with strong international and interdisciplinary links to partners from Academia and Industry, mainly in Europe, India, South Africa, and Brazil. Many of our research projects are supported financially by the European Union, such as the CARAPAX, NanoBioSaccharides and PolyModE projects in the past and the ongoing Nano3Bio project, all aiming at understanding molecular structure/function relationships of chitosans. Currently, our main focus is on the discovery, characterization, optimization, and use of novel chitin and chitosan modifying enzymes to understand and improve bio-active chitosans for applications e.g. in plant disease protection or biomedicine. One of our recent European projects, ChitoBioEngineering, aiming at a biotechnologial production of chitosans, was supported financially by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF, and a current one, FunChi, aiming at chitosan production from fungal fermentation wastes, is supported by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe FNR of Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, BMEL. Two recent projects together with industry partners, supported by Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft, BMWi, aim to understand the cellular modes of action of plant growth promoting chitosans (ChitoGrow), and to use chitin from fungal fermentation wastes for the biotechnological production of fine chemicals (F2F). Financially supported by Deutsche Forschungs-Gemeinschaft DFG and University Grants Commission UGC of India, we launched, in 2009, the first Indo-German International Research Training Group on Molecular and Cellular Glyco-Sciences MCGS, together with the University of Hyderabad. In 2011, we started the first Indo-German Public-Private Partnership 2+2-project on Copper-Loaded Chitosan-Nanoparticles and Bio-Control Agents for Plant Protection, CuChi-BCA, financially supported by BMBF and Department of Biotechnology DBT of India. Our projects also profit from financial support through individual PhD fellowships from Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst DAAD and from Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU. To support the translation of our fundamental research results into marketable products, we have recently set up a service unit, ChitoProf. ChitoProf offers well defined chitosans, recombinant and engineered chitin and chitosan modifying enzymes, and chemical as well as biological analyses of chitosans and their functionalities to researchers in academia and industry. The aim is to fill the knowledge gap concerning structure-function relationships of partially acetylated chitosan polymers and oligomers, and thus to support the development of reliable and efficient products and applications using these chitosans.

Christoph Engwer successfully defended his PhD thesis

© Sruthi Sreekumar

Today, Christoph Engwer from the ex-Goycoolea group successfully defended his PhD thesis, supported by his first and second referees, Prof. Francisco Goycoolea, now at the University of Leeds in UK, and Prof. Bruno Moerschbacher, as well as his third, external doctoral committee member, Prof. Ioannis Chronakis from Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen.
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Prof. Gurvan Michel received the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize certificate from the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

© Gurvan Michel

This week, Prof. Gurvan Michel, CNRS research director at the Laboratoire Biologique de Roscoff in Britanny, France, and currently guest professor at our Institute in Münster, received the certificate for the award of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at the annual AvH Research Awards Winners Symposium held in Bamberg.
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