Research Center for Environmental Research and Biotechnology


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heribert Insam (Department of Microbiology

Research Objectives

Contributing to the solutions for the three Super-Challenges of the 21st century,

  • Increase of climate relevant gases
  • Energy Crisis
  • Sustainable use of resources (water, soil, plant nutrients, biomass...)

is driving our research.

Atmospheric climate gases (CO2, CH4, N2O and trace gases), including airborne measurement campaigns in co-operation with NASA, and their interaction with biological producers and degraders is a playground for CERB. Methodological advancements of PTR-MS-Technology by the Institute of Ion Physics and Applied Physics are pushing ahead the research in real-time gas analysis, including organic aerosols and persistent xenobiotics, while innovation for solid samples is driven by the Institute of Analytical and Radiochemistry. Highly selective separation and enrichment techniques for minor components coupled with near and medium-range IR-Spectroscopy and/or ATR (Attenuated Total Reflection) and non-destructive sampling are major assets.

At the Institute of Microbiology natural - very often cold - habitats and biotechnological applications are studied. The biological treatment of waste and wastewater, in particular the anammox (DEMON®) process are foci. Combating fungal and faunal plant pathogens by mycoparasitic and entomopathogenic fungi, respectively, the investigation of fungal communication, the production of secondary metabolites and basic research on mycorrhizae and plant pathogenic Phytomyxea (START-project Hi-Phy) are central. Physiology of biomethanisation for bioenergy production in the laboratory and, in co-operation with the Institute of Infrastructure, also in practical applications, is being driven forth. Effects of various residues on the soil and its microbiota, and the best possible recycling of nutrients are investigated. 

CERB is bringing together three faculties, and does science in most attractive fields of basic and applied research. Environmental biotechnology, microbiomes, bioenergy, bioaugmentation, atmospheric physics and chemistry, food analysis and biological plant protection are just a few keywords that outline how we cope with the above mentioned Super-Challenges. Spin-off companies like Ionicon, Mykon, BioTreaT and Bio4Gas underline the dedication to applied research.

 Interview with Heribert Insam (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units

Affiliated Doctoral Programmes

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