Trend report: Biotechnology—A key technology with interdisciplinary character
Biotechnology is now the key to success in many branches of industry. The foundations of biotechnology are not only the basis for modern synthetic biology and bio-based materials, but also for the food industry and agriculture, pharma research, point-of-care diagnostics as well as personalized and regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering and bioprinting are opening up unimagined potential in tissue and organ research. Functional organ structures are making new types of in-vivo treatments possible. Microfluidics makes is possible for physiologically active cells to function on a chip. Following lab-on-a-chip, now organ-marrow, bone and gut-on-a-chip are about to become a reality.
Brand new developments in biotechnology, genetic engineering, diagnostics and medicine are calling for new analysis techniques. Successes in the synthesis of new active substances and medications or in promising treatments and genetic therapies in personalized medicine depend largely on the efficiency of bioanalysis methods. The latest bioanalysis technologies will be presented to the professional community at analytica 2016 in Munich. Innovative equipment technologies and future-oriented techniques that revolve around bioanalysis will be on exhibit at the fair. International experts and global players will meet in Munich to exchange experiences at the place where exhibitors showcase the latest industry know-how and state-of-the-art technology.
Sector-specific solutions will be presented, from sample-preparation techniques and liquid handling, and from single-use systems and disposables to instrumental analysis using mass spectrometry and imaging techniques such as microscopy; from micro- and nano-technology, from immunological and molecular-biology techniques, and from bioreactors to assays and chip technologies; from high-throughput screening and drug discovery, and from laboratory automation to data management and big data. Users can experience well-structured and comprehensive presentations of system solutions that can be used to shorten analysis and experiment times and improve interpretations of measuring results and the central availability of meaningful data.
Hardly any other discipline is as controversial as biotechnology, and hardly any other key technology has experienced such revolutionary development and groundbreaking success. Whether it comes to red, green or white biotechnology, a number of interdisciplinary solutions are now making significant contributions to improving the quality of our lives.
When examining algae as effective users of carbon dioxide that produce biomass and active substances, biotechnology processes are a prerequisite for sustainable research. The bio-economic role that algae biotechnology plays is apparent in several research disciplines. The spectrum ranges from the production of active pharmaceutical and cosmetic substances, foods, food supplements and animal feed to renewable aircraft fuel.
In addition, the isolation and characterization of natural products and new plant-based derived materials and understanding biosyntheses are becoming increasingly important when researching new types of active substances and producing pharmaceuticals and natural cosmetics.
Next Generation technologies continue to create new momentum in tissue and organ research. The objective is to develop therapeutic approaches in surgery and vessel surgery, tumor therapy as well as dermatology in the future that have been unimaginable until now. At the same time, the patient's immune system should react specifically and in a manner that targets the tumor in question. The body's own repair mechanisms should be activated in a targeted manner. Faster diagnoses and better therapies should increase the success and reliability of medical treatments. And all considerations should revolve around individual diagnostics and personalized functional processes.
Biofabrication and biotesting
DNA arrays for transcriptomics and proteomics methods make important contributions to the development of materials and substances for use in intelligent implants. In the scientific sector, cell-biology testing techniques and cell-vitality tests are already being used to evaluate biocompatibility with regard to human cells. In some instances, isolated stem cells are suitable test cells for various types of biotesting on a 2D or 3D scale.
Aptamers are single-strand oligonucleotides that are in a position to attach to various target molecules with a great deal of specificity and affinity. The specific bond between the aptamer and the target molecule can be used to purify target molecules and to detect proteins or bacteria. If the target structure is a disease-specific marker, aptamers can be used to diagnose it. Aptamer-based techniques are also increasingly being used in the food-sensing sector, e.g. in aptamer-based affinity enrichment with subsequent real-time detection. In addition, aptamers represent a promising alternative for current animal protection guidelines that call for a reduction in the use of animals for scientific purposes.
In the life sciences, computer-based analysis and evaluation methods are indispensible when explaining molecular relationships. In this case, bioinformatics has special significance. Next Generation methods are in demand, particularly in synthetic biology, computer-aided substance design and point-of-care diagnostics. New types of ultra-high throughput sequencing methods can be used to create large quantities of data very quickly.
Dealing with this gigantic flood of data sensibly, the need to archive and store sample materials as specified by laws and norms, which are associated with increasingly demanding requirements and growing costs, will be the focus of all discussions about rapid data availability, increasing efficiency and reliability. Biobanks and peptide libraries, automation and robot systems, LIMS, software packages and smart laboratory devices are indispensible tools in the life sciences, particularly against the backdrop of increasing digitalization.
analytica: The trend platform
From laboratory equipment and highly specified molecular and microbiology methods, test kits, PCR and assay techniques as well as automation and evaluation capabilities to clean-room and protective equipment, the latest developments will be presented at analytica.
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