Ecothermodynamics / Biocalorimetry

Research Group Ecothermodynamics / Biocalorimetry
Hassan Al-Fathi, Kurt-Tobias Mühler, Claudia Heber, Kristina Vogel, Monique Reichard, Christian Fricke, Anika Krämer, Thomas Maskow, Thore Rohwerder, Sven Paufler (from left to right; without Hieu Linh Duong)

Research Topics

Thermodynamics as a method to describe conditions and processes of complex systems offers an excellent supplement to kinetic and stoichiometric approaches, experience and intuition by well-founded scientific rules. Unfortunately, thermodynamics in ecosystems as well as in biotechnology is despite of its potential rather seldom applied.

Therefore, our group applys, develops and validates thermodynamic rules with the aims:

  • to deepen insights into complex networks of both ecosystems (Microbial Ecology) and metabolisms (Biothermodynamics),
  • to predict and to control the functional biodiversity (Ecological Microbiology),
  • to develop ultra-sensitive real time sensors for ecosystems and biotechnology (Biocalorimetry and Impedance spectroscopy), and
  • to analyse and to control complex bioprocesses in larger scale (Bioprocess control).
  • to understand interactions of nanomaterial with biological material

Senior Scientist                   PhD             and BA Students

Dr. Thore Rohwerder                      Kristina Vogel            Anika Krämer

Prof. Hassan Al-Fathi                      Hieu Linh Duong 

                                                        Christian Fricke


Sven Paufler (Deputy)

Claudia Heber (Laboratory manager)

Monique Reichard (TA)

Hans Fritsche (Apprentice)


- Fermentation / reaction calorimetry            - Microcalorimetry
- Chip calorimetry                                         - ITC & DSC
- Combustion calorimetry                              - Respirometry
- Impedance Spectroscopy                           - Fermentations
- Thermokinetic modelling

Selected Cooperations / Projects

Glycolysis: Thermodynamics and predictions of metabolic pathways

German Research Foundation (DFG): Cooperation project with two universities (Rostock + Dortmund)

Development of calorimetry as real time instrument to analyze and control complex environmental bioprocesses (DOCUMENT)

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): Project Based Personnel Exchange Programme (PPP) with the Chinese University of Geosciences Wuhan, China

Production of chiral R-3-hydroxyalkanoates from methylotrophic bacteria using renewable raw materials

German Federation of Industrial Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" (AiF): Co-operation project with Umwelt- und Ingenieurtechnik GmbH Dresden (UIT)

Analysis and Control of Bioprocesses in natural and technical systems using chip-calorimetry

German Federation of Industrial Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" (AiF): Co-operation project with TU Freiberg, RWTH Aachen and 7 medium sized biotech companies)

Biothermodynamic characterization and analysis of biofilms using new miniaturized chip-calorimeters

German Research Foundation (DFG): Co-operation project with TU Freiberg

10 selected publications from the last three years

Maskow, T., Rothe, A., Jakob, T., Paufler, S., Wilhelm, C. (2019) Photocalorespirometry (Photo-CR): A novel method for access to photosynthetic energy conversion efficiency. Scientific Reports 9, 9298

Zahn, M., Kurteva-Yaneva, N., Schuster, J., Krug, U., Georgi, T. Müller, R. H., Rohwerder, T., Sträter, N. (2019) Structures of 2-Hydroxyisobutyric Acid-CoA Ligase reveal determinants of substrate specificity and describe a multi-conformational catalytic cycle. Journal of Molecular Biology 431: 2747-2761

Xu, J., He, H., Wang, Y.-Y., Yan, R., Zhou, L.-J., Jiang, F.-L., Maskow, T., Liu, Y. (2018) New Aspects of the Environmental Risks of Quantum Dots: Prophage Activation. Environmental Science: Nano 5(7): 1556-1566

Russel, M., Marios, S., JiaJia, S., Xu, W., Xiao, L., Maskow, T., Alam, M.M., Georgiou, J. (2018) High-Frequency, dielectric spectroscopy for the detection of electrophysiological/biophysical differences in different bacteria types and concentrations. Analytica Chimica Acta 1010: 86-95

Xu, J., Kiesel, B., Kallies, R., Jiang, F.-L., Liu, Y., Maskow, T. (2018) A fast and reliable method for monitoring of prophage-activating chemicals. Microbial Biotechnology DOI 10.1111/1751-7915.13042

Zhou Z-Q, Yang L-Y, Yan R., Zhao J, Liu Y-Q, Lai L, Jiang F-L, Maskow T, Liu Y (2017) Mn-doped ZnSe quantum dots initiated mild and rapid cation exchange for tailoring composition and optical properties of colloid nanocrystals: novel template, new applications. Nanoscale 9(8): 2824-2835

Altwasser V, Pätz R.R., Lemke T, Paufler S,Maskow T. (2017) A simple Method for the Measurement of Metabolic Heat Production Rates during Solid-State Fermentations Using β-Carotene Production with Blakeslea trispora as a Model System. Engineering in Life Sciences 17: 620-628

Korth B, Maskow T, Picioreanu C, Harnisch F (2016) The microbial electrochemical Peltier heat: an energetic burden and engineering chance for primary microbial electrochemical technologies. Energy & Environmental Science 9:2539-2544 (IF = 25.4)

Rohde M-T, Paufler S, Harms H, Maskow T (2016) Calorespirometric Feeding Control Enhances Bioproduction from Toxic Feedstocks – Demonstration for Biopolymer Production out of Methanol. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113(10): 2113-2121

Maskow T, Paufler S (2015) What does calorimetry and thermodynamics of living cells tell us? Methods 76: 3-10