Technology Platforms & High-tech Labs
As an international competence centre for environmental sciences, the UFZ owns several innovative research facilities in the fields of
- Microscopy for biology and material science,
- 3D-visualisation of data and numeric simulations
- Isotope analytics,
- Bioreactor systems,
- Mass spectroscopy in metobolomics and proteomics,
- Technologies for high-resolution exploration of subsurface structures, integrated earth observation and a ground-truth-data-based interpretation of satellite data,
- Equipment for surface water analysis,
Our technology platforms offer vital links to science and industry. Moreover, they are starting points for future research projects.
For further information, please contact the experts at our centre.
ACROSS (Advanced Remote Sensing - Ground Truth Demo and Test Facilities)
ACROSS provides field data across different spatial and temporal scales and environmental compartments in order to enhance the interpretation of satellite data for environmental science. The UFZ partly coordinates the ACROSS infrastructure and contributes to the terrestrial platform by investigating hydrogeophysical and ecological parameters like soil moisture, temperature, carbon and water fluxes by using, for example, mobile cosmic ray neutron probes, Eddy-Covariance stations and LiDAR technologies.
At bounderies, microorganisms form so-called biofilms, which play a key role in a variety of processes, e.g., during the conversion of organic compounds, sorption or the decomposition and transport of contaminants. While microorganisms are systematically applied in biotechnological processes like wastewater treatment, their action in biofouling or the human body may also result in undesirable effects on product quality or health. The technology platform “Biofilm” comprises several laser scanning microscopes, which allow a thorough investigation of structural and functional properties of biofilms and, therefore, contribute to a better understanding of the processes which occur in biofilms.
The bioreactor pilot plant consists of modern bioreactor technology for the cultivation of different microorganisms like bacteria, yeast and fungi. It offers multi- and laboratory bioreactor systems from 0,5 to 2 litres as well as a set of geometrically similar reactors for a scaling up with working volumes ranging between 5 and 400 litres. The facility is completed by devices for analytics along the bioprocess and cell separation and thus, enables an integral approach for the investigation, development and optimization of bioprocesses.
CITEPro provides a platform for high-throughput sample preparation, the automated exposure of cell cultures and aquatic organisms, and the automated analysis of the effects and chemical concentrations for large numbers of chemicals and environmental samples.
The platform can increase the sample throughput of established bioanalytical, toxicological and analytical methods and is therefore suited for a wide range of applications including the spatial and temporal resolution of contamination with micropollutants in various environmental matrices from water, sediment and soil to biota and humans.
The implementation of the infrastructure will be finished in 2018, CITEPro is planned to be officially launched end of 2018, and integration is planned for 2019, so that CITEPro will be operational by 2020. During the implementation and integration phases, pilot research projects have already been running and will continue to do so in these phases.
Laboratory of Stable Isotopes (LSI)
The Laboratory of Stable Isotopes has know-how in the analytics of light element stable isotopes (HCNOS and Cl) for more than 25 years. It offers the most modern laboratory equipment, holds several methodological patents which are licensed and acts as reference laboratory for the IAEA. Core competences are online component specific analyses (GC, TCEA, HPCL), the development of methods for isotope analysis for gaseous, solid and liquid samples, quality control and management as well as the development and calibration of international reference materials. The experience at LSI is applied in a large variety of process studies and reflected in numerous publications.
MOSAIC is a platform for the model-based, high-resolution exploration of complex subsurface structures by applying and combining minimally invasive methods. Therefore, MOSAIC allows the investigation of large scale field sites with complex geology. The platform combines various methods such as direct push technologies, on-site analytical methods, geophysical, tomographic, as well as hydrogeological techniques. A further innovative approach is the adaptive site investigation, which allows an optimized exploration process quality and time due to the dynamic use of suitable methods within the MOSAIC platform.
Prometheus- Platform for metabolomics analysis
The Prometheus platform offers most modern mass spectroscopy (GC and LS/MS) for profiling, identification and quantification of exogenic and endogenic metabolites in epidemiological studies and cellular models. The metabolites are extracted and measured from different biological matrices (e.g. serum, urine, adipose tissue as well as eukaryotic and prokaryotic cultures). Data analysis by means of well-established analysis routines allows detecting alterations of amino acids, biogenic amines and lipids in the entire metabolism.
Prometheus offers targeted and non-targeted proteomic analysis in simple (gel bands, affinity enriched) and complex samples (extracts from cell culture, tissue, body fluids, microbial consortia) by using the broad expertise of the Department of Molecular Systems Biology and state of the art equipment. For quantification the techniques of SILAC (stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell cultures), label free, TMT (tandem mass tag) and SRM (selected reaction monitoring) are established. For microbial ecology we developed the Protein-SIP (stable isotope probing) approach as well as bioinformatics tools which are applied to protein-protein-interaction studies and phosphoproteomics. Proteome data analysis is performed routinely by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis.
ProVIS – Platform for visualisation of biochemical processes at the cellular level
The technology platform ProVIS is funded by the Helmholtz Association and the European Regional Development Fund. It provides a unique pool of scientific equipment combining imaging technologies with methods for chemical analysis to study biological samples, structures and surfaces on a nanometer scale. The technology comprises high-resolution atomic force, electron and ion microscopy as well as several mass spectrometry methods which are used to answer questions from fundamental research to applied science. Main research focus at the UFZ is the investigation of structural and functional properties and regulatory processes of environmentally relevant microorganisms. These play, for example, an important role in biodegradation of chemicals and biotransformation of metals and, therefore, contribute to a better understanding of our ecosystem
The Visualisation Centre provides a platform for scientists from various fields to explore and analyse complex and spatially heterogeneous data sets. By way of an interactive large-area stereo projection screen, scientists can immerse themselves in the projected environmental data and, thereby, acquire new insights into scientific questions and problems. Furthermore, the platform offers opportunities for knowledge transfer between researchers on the one hand side and to interested citizens on the other hand side.