Research

 
 

Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and 
Crop Plant Research (IPK)

The Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) at Gatersleben is a research center that addresses the issues of modern biology by focusing mainly on crop plants. Pioneering research to uncover the fundamental principles of plant performance and the development of enabling technologies are considered to be of paramount importance in understanding the genetic architecture and the evolution of crop plants at the organismic, the chromosomal and the DNA level. Knowledge-based strategies are developed to facilitate the targeted utilization of biological diversity for the sustainable production of food, feed and renewable resources. These efforts are complemented by the development of transgenic approaches to improve plant performance. 

The Institute comprises four scientific departments

• Genebank
• Cytogenetics and Genome Analysis
• Molecular Genetics
• Physiology and Cell Biology

The research program focuses on three major themes: the conservation, development and exploitation of genetic diversity, dynamics of plant genomes, and integrative biology of plant performance. While fundamental questions are mainly studied using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, questions of applied science are investigated in a variety of crop species. In this regard barley (Hordeum vulgare) is of central importance due to its agricultural value and because its genome serves as a model for cereal species of the Triticeae tribe that also includes other important crops such as wheat and rye. To further promote research into the Triticeae, the institute heads an international consortium to physically map and sequence the barley genome. In addition, biological resources and enabling technologies are developed such as molecular markers and transformation techniques. A comprehensive program on bioinformatics and computational genomics is closely interrelated with the experimental research programs to support research into structural and functional genomics, biochemistry and cell biology, and to address systems-oriented issues.

As one of the world’s leading plant research centers the IPK cooperates with many national and international partners. In addition to their research work the scientists at IPK also dedicate time to teaching at universities, amongst them the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.


         

Companies

 
  

Bayer CropScience AG;
European Wheat Breeding Programme

Bayer CropScience is one of the world’s leading crop science companies in the area of crop protection for cereals, and is pursuing long term investment in sustainable cereal production from seed through to consumer. Thanks to its presence in all relevant markets and as a result of the constant introduction of new products for agriculture the company occupies a prominent position in the crop protection market for wheat. In addition, Bayer CropScience invests heavily in wheat breeding. 

The inauguration of the European Wheat Breeding Center in June 2012 on the biotechnology campus in Gatersleben is a clear signal of Bayer CropScience’s commitment to pursuing the research and breeding goals for new wheat varieties suitable for the European market listed below:

  • Increased yield
  • Nutrient use efficiency (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus)
  • Abiotic stress tolerance (drought, heat)
  • Fungal resistance 
  • Grinding and baking quality (good quality with increased yield)

By cooperating with renowned private enterprises and public organisations Bayer CropScience is able to bundle know-how and speed up breeding results. Bayer CropScience is thus able to position itself as the “Partner of Choice” for central European wheat producers. The company deploys the latest biotechnological processes to deliver its breeding goals. The anticipated 40 members of staff in Gatersleben have access to 1.358 square meters of laboratory, greenhouse and office space, as well as extensive field test areas close by the campus.

 


Gartenland Produktion GmbH,
Quality Seed Testing Labor 

Gartenland GmbH is a medium-sized, young, dynamic group of companies involved worldwide in the production and sale of seed and seedlings, perennials, cut flowers and bulbs. 

The Quality Seed Testing Laboratory is an independent testing laboratory belonging to Gartenland Production GmbH. The company produces seeds from vegetables, flowers and herbs etc. for amateur gardeners. The quality of the seed is tested using specific internationally recognized procedures in their own testing laboratory. The “International Seed Testing Association “ (ISTA), of which our laboratory is a member (DEML 2000), is responsible for setting the rules to cover the procedures for  seed germination of different species.

Our sample range covers different varieties of seed from vegetables, herbs and flowers. Our services include ISTA seed testing for germination, purity, other seed determinants and moisture; seed storage; life vase tests for cut flowers under defined conditions; plant breeding and cultivation; in-vitro propagation and much more.

High germination, i.e. above the minimum germination capacity, is one of the criteria for high quality seed. Another criterion is purity; this means that the percentage of inert matter is very low. All these tests are performed to ensure excellent quality and to comply with EU seed standards. The germination capability of each Gartenland variety/species or seed batch is analyzed at least once a year by the Quality Seed Testing Laboratory in line with proprietary and statutory parameters.  


 

IT-Breeding GmbH

IT-Breeding GmbH was founded in 2009 at the Biotech Start-up Center Gatersleben as a spin-off from the Leibniz-Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research. IT-Breeding provides competent support for breeding programs and helps to implement the Precision Breeding* technologies in an optimal and effective way.

To meet the demands of an ever growing population and climate change, plant breeding has to face the challenge of breeding high yielding varieties adapted to the upcoming environmental changes in increasingly shorter timeframes. IT-Breeding provides a range of services to save time and cost in plant breeding.

Our goal is to increase the efficiency of breeding by improving knowledge transfer between public research and commercial plant breeding. Based upon our expertise in searching, evaluating and analyzing molecular data on plant growth and development – the data that reveals the genetic mechanisms behind important traits – we offer our customers the following:

• Plant species specific newsletter
• Customized searches and studies
• Customized databases
• Consulting

*Precision breeding, also known as SMART breeding (SMART = Selection with Markers and Advanced Reproductive Technologies), is a targeted combination of superior alleles in crop improvement programs.

 


Orgentis Chemicals GmbH

Since 1991, Orgentis Chemicals has been developing synthesis processes from laboratory scale to semi-bulk quantities for pre-defined target molecules and synthesizes a wide range of customer-specific organic compounds. One of our core activities is the purification and separation of natural products and synthetic organic compounds. 

Orgentis Chemicals produces and delivers special chemicals for biochemistry and high technology applications, including pure enantiomers of chiral compounds, derivatives of amino acids and carbohydrates.

We synthesize molecules and isolate natural compounds in line with your requirements. We offer highly efficient polymer phases for the isolation and purification of biomolecules. In our well-equipped multipurpose laboratories and pilot plant buildings covering 1.000 square meters we deploy state-of-the-art technologies for

• Research and product development 
• Development of synthesis processes
• Optimization of existing processes
• Isolation and modification of natural products
• Up-scaling from laboratory to pilot scale
• Production at lab-scale and semi-bulk 
• Custom synthesis 



Saaten-Union Biotec GmbH

Saaten-Union Biotec GmbH is a medium-sized company (SME) with 65 employees and annual turnover of 3.2 Mill. €. The company was founded in 1984 by seven German plant breeders. Deutsche Saatveredelung AG and Solana Research GmbH joined the group in 1999 and 2011 respectively. In December 2006 an additional facility for tissue culture research and production of doubled haploid (DH) plants was established on the campus of the Biotechpark Gatersleben in the immediate vicinity of the IPK Gatersleben (Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research).

We provide services, contract research and the development of innovative technologies to the breeders of our shareholder companies in the field of biotechnological supported plant breeding to accelerate the production of improved varieties. Services are also available for industrial and academic third parties (price list on request).

Services and Research 

Double haploid production in rapeseed, wheat, barley, triticale, maize, fodder and amenity grasses is our key technology. Microspore culture, anther culture and wide crosses are routine. 200,000 barley plantlets, 100,000 rapeseed plantlets, 200,000 wheat plantlets and 25,000 triticale plantlets are produced per year. 

Wheat DH production, which will also further accelerate hybrid wheat breeding, has recently been included in our range of services. More than 200,000 plantlets were produced already in the first year of introducing this technology.

The range of services also includes ploidy determination by means of flow cytometry in rape and various cereals. 

Genetic activities are performed within the framework of research and development projects and in close cooperation with the shareholders who are also active on the North and South American and Australian seed markets. 


 

Trait Genetics GmbH

TraitGenetics was founded in 2001 and currently employs 20 people. The company is mainly involved in developing molecular markers and in analyzing crops using these markers. Molecular markers are diagnostic tools that are used in plant breeding to track the inheritance of qualitative (monogenic) and quantitative (polygenic) traits during crossing and selection. Molecular markers are used to identify and select plants with the desired traits at an early stage in their growth and hence save time and expense during the breeding process (SMART breeding).

TraitGenetics specializes in developing and analyzing different types of molecular markers for plant breeding and biodiversity research. This includes the use of molecular markers for the construction of genetic maps, marker-assisted selection in large populations, the construction of molecular marker databases for plant variety identification and germplasm characterization as well as map-based cloning.

TraitGenetics mostly serves the international plant breeding community and has its customers among major plant breeding companies as well as smaller, regional enterprises, academic institutions and other companies in the area of plant research to which we license our markers, perform contract research and molecular marker services. 


Infrastructure / Service 

 


 

Biotech Center Gatersleben GmbH

New businesses and start-ups encounter excellent start-up conditions at the Biotech center in Gatersleben, built in 2000. The two-storey building complex provides 2.500 square meters of space for laboratories, offices and greenhouses. 

The Biotech Center Gatersleben GmbH was founded in 1999. Our key activity is to provide support for start-ups and young businesses in the life science sector.

The Biotech Center Gatersleben GmbH is a member of the competence network “Innoplanta – Plant Biotechnology North Harz/Börde” and of the Green Gate Gatersleben® initiative. 

The services provided by the Start-up Center GmbH include:

• Providing information and support to enterprises
• Setting up cooperations and technology transfer
• Location marketing and PR activities 


 

Biotechpark Gatersleben
Infrastrukturgesellschaft mbH

The Plant Biotechnology Park Gatersleben is one of the most modern infrastructure facilities dedicated to the plant.

The Plant Biotechnology Park Gatersleben covers an area of 10 ha and is the focal point of the biotechnology offensive in Sachsen-Anhalt. It is located on the Gatersleben Biotech campus, an extensive scientific, economic and industrial network.  It also offers a research greenhouse, laboratories and a conference center with office space. 

Big changes start with small steps, and the Plant Biotechnology Park offers the ideal infrastructure for new technologies and ideas relating to plants.

Our services to you

• Premises in a technology and start-up center and plant biotechnology
   industrial park 

• Advisory services for start-ups and enterprises on licensing procedures and      approval from authorities involved
• Enterprise finance facilitation and venture capital provision


 

Green Laboratory Gatersleben

The “Green Laboratory” Gatersleben is a school laboratory for biology based at the venerable science location of Gatersleben. Here children and young people – our future scientists – can experiment for themselves and learn more about plants and their habitats. The “Green Laboratory” makes science a hands-on experience and provides vital impulses ranging from a general understanding through to key formative experiences for making a vocational choice. 

Experiencing science – under this slogan the “Green Laboratory”, the school laboratory for biology, was opened in 2006 on the Gatersleben Biotech campus. Its aim is to stimulate school children’s interest in natural and plant science whilst still at school. Boys and girls who show particular interest should be encouraged as much as possible in order to offer them the opportunity to develop their skills and potential. Another major focus at the “Green Laboratory” is to support school children as far as possible in their choice of career.

The courses offered by the “Green Laboratory” cover a broad spectrum of plant science topics ranging from botany via plant biotechnology and molecular genetics through to ecology and environmental education. The “Green Laboratory” thereby covers a spectrum of educational content that is almost unique in Germany. 


 

InnoPlanta e.V. – Plant Biotechnology Network

InnoPlanta e.V. is an association to promote modern plant breeding. Founded in 2000, the association numbers more than 100 members from the domains of agriculture, science, medium-sized seed breeding and regional authorities. InnoPlanta is involved in a number of activities to promote the practical application of modern plant biotechnology. InnoPlanta was the winner of the InnoRegio competition, launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Whereas plant biotechnology is gaining ground worldwide, it is viewed with scepticism in Germany and Europe. To promote the positive contribution that biotech plants can offer for the sustainable intensification of crop production, InnoPlanta now focuses on public relations work.

Based on the experiences gained from the field trial cultivation of Bt maize in 2004 coordinated by InnoPlanta, the Innovative Farmers’ Working Group (AGIL) was established in 2006 within the InnoPlanta network and is open to all farmers nationwide.

InnoPlanta AGIL supports farmers who wish to benefit from the opportunities and potential offered by plant biotechnology and demands practicable and calculable genetic engineering legislation. 
 


BMD GmbH – Life Sciences Agency Saxony-Anhalt

Our work focuses chiefly on one aspect: Competent, prompt and customer-oriented support of enterprises and research institutes in the life science and biotechnology sectors with the objective of supporting their sustainable development, and to aggressively communicate the positive development of the region and the players involved to the public.

Our Activities in the Plant Biotechnology  Sector:

• Establish and arrange contacts as well as individually
  support plant biotechnology enterprises

• Initiate and coordinate the “Green Gate Gatersleben® -
  The Plant Biotech 
Center” 
• Coordinate cross-border projects

We operate at the interface of politics, science and commerce and we are experienced as suppliers and networkers for everybody who wishes to jointly drive innovation in the life science sector. For example, we support the InnoPlanta e.V. network (plant biotechnology) and the BioPharma Network Saxony-Anhalt in shaping new projects and finding new funding and cooperation partners.

At the heart of our cooperation management is the collaboration between enterprises and research institutes – both cross-sector and cross-border. We focus on key sectors such as the pharmaceutical and chemical industries as well as the food industry and agriculture. Hence, in solving your problems and in order to fulfil your wishes it is important for us to work together with our long standing and fruitful partners in Thuringia and Saxony. We foster cross-regional biotechnology development by coordinating cross-border projects together with the Business Initiative for Central Germany. 
 


Aschersleben-Staßfurt Business
Development Corporation mbH

Founded in 1991, the Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftsförderung Aschersleben-Staßfurt mbH (Business Development Corporation) operates on behalf of the Salzlandkreis region. Today, the corporation is active in three key areas. Firstly, we provide potential investors with comprehensive advice from conception to implementation of their relocation projects and provide ongoing support and information both to founders of new businesses and to medium-sized firms. Secondly, we ensure there is a supply of trained personnel available and arrange training, developmental training and career guidance, so that you can recruit qualified personnel for your company. Thirdly, we think of the future – we plan projects and implement ideas –your ideas, especially. 

The Aschersleben-Staßfurt Business Development Corporation mbH provides support for start-ups and seed companies focusing on biotechnology, especially plant biotechnology. They are given the opportunity to translate their business ideas into commercial sense. The Business Development Corporation contributes to the region’s economic success. We bring together regional companies and potential cooperation partners, research and its industrial application, business and administration. 
 

Seeland, Gatersleben municipality

Gatersleben is a prospering municipality of Seeland located 10 km from the UNESCO world heritage town of Quedlinburg – the cradle of the German seed breeding. About 2,500 inhabitants live in Gatersleben on an area of 16 square kilometers. Gatersleben has a beautiful park with many centuries-old trees. The location combines rural idyll with an attractive economic base.

Plant Biotechnology

Gatersleben is one of the most important locations for plant biotechnology in Saxony-Anhalt and throughout Germany. The Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Research, housing Germany’s largest crop gene bank is of particular importance.  It can look back at over 60 years of successful research.

In 1999 the first companies located to Gatersleben as spin-offs from the Institute. In 2000 a biotechnology start-up center was built and in 2006 the Gatersleben Biotech Park followed. At present, there is a broad network between industry – research – business – politics. In 2012 Bayer CropScience AG inaugurated its European Wheat Breeding Center at Gatersleben from where it coordinates the company’s entire European research activities for wheat breeding.  
 


The Salzlandkreis

A long economic tradition is implicit in the term, the new Salzlandkreis. Whereas salt has always played an important role in the economic history of the region, the emphasis today has shifted to the six white powders. Cement and the manufacture of flour, sugar and pharmaceutical products now play a key role, apart from salt and soda. Where large companies employing several thousand workers once dominated the economic scene, a balanced mixture of craft industries and medium-sized companies is now developing on an increasing scale. This industrial diversity is the key to the region’s economic success. 

Today the Salzlandkreis, formed in July 2007 by merging the former county districts of Aschersleben-Staßfurt, Bernburg and Schönebeck, is one of the most densely populated counties in Sachsen-Anhalt with a population of approx. 207.000.

Business and Science

An efficient and profitable rural economy on the most favourable soils in Germany characterizes large areas of the county district and forms the foundation for a flourishing food industry. Sectors such as the chemical industry, metal-working and mechanical engineering are crucial for the economy of the Salzlandkreis. A flagship enterprise is Novelis Deutschland GmbH, Nachterstedt, a manufacturer of rolled aluminum products that has risen to become one of the 10 largest companies in Saxony-Anhalt.

With the biotech center and the biotech park, Gatersleben offers a superb infrastructure in the high technology sector of plant biotechnology. This is the reason why Bayer CropScience has opened its European Wheat Breeding Center in Gatersleben from where it coordinates its entire European research activities in wheat breeding.