Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Microbiology and biotechnology of food and environment

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.06.00  Biotechnical sciences  Biotechnology   
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   
1.05.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biochemistry and molecular biology   
4.04.00  Biotechnical sciences  Veterinarian medicine   

Code Science Field
B230  Biomedical sciences  Microbiology, bacteriology, virology, mycology 

Code Science Field
4.05  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Other agricultural sciences 
microbiology, biotechnology, nutrients, environment, microorganisms, stress factors, antibiotics, microbial interactions, Bacillus, Campylobacter, Listeria, Shigella, Vibrio, Streptomyces, Saccharomyces, Zygosaccharomyces, micotoxicogenic fungi, viruses, biofilms, starter cultures, sporulation, competence, apoptosis, microbial communities, yeast biomass, resistance, food spoilage microorganisms, patogenic microorganisms, membranes, cell surfaces, nutrient circulation, adaptive mechanisms, bioprocesses
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (45)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  28299  PhD Martina Avbelj  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2012  68 
2.  07469  PhD Martin Batič  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2010  193 
3.  30761  PhD Marko Blažič  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2013  26 
4.  32062  PhD Maja Borić  Plant production  Junior researcher  2009 - 2012  20 
5.  18332  PhD Neža Čadež  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  306 
6.  25518  PhD Miha Črnigoj  Pharmacy  Researcher  2010 - 2011  42 
7.  27641  PhD Tjaša Danevčič  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  169 
8.  24407  PhD Iztok Dogša  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  183 
9.  33177  PhD Anna Dragoš  Plant production  Researcher  2010 - 2014  90 
10.  21392  PhD Štefan Fujs  Biotechnology  Researcher  2010 - 2014  87 
11.  33859  PhD Krešimir Gjuračić  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  27 
12.  03383  PhD Ivan - Janez Hacin  Plant production  Researcher  2009 - 2013  112 
13.  25519  PhD Jaka Horvat  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  49 
14.  28509  PhD Tina Ivančič  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2012  13 
15.  18511  PhD Polona Jamnik  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  881 
16.  25520  PhD Vesna Jerman  Pharmacy  Researcher  2009 - 2013  38 
17.  11548  PhD Barbka Jeršek  Animal production  Researcher  2009 - 2014  400 
18.  22491  PhD Anja Klančnik  Animal production  Researcher  2009 - 2014  315 
19.  22312  PhD Gregor Kosec  Biotechnology  Researcher  2010 - 2014  103 
20.  31913  PhD Janez Kosel  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2013  78 
21.  22492  PhD Barbara Kraigher  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  109 
22.  35374  PhD Katja Kranjc  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2012 - 2013  77 
23.  34331  PhD Luka Kranjc  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2011 - 2013  30 
24.  24313  PhD Marija Kurinčič  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2013  53 
25.  23483  PhD Enej Kuščer  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  36 
26.  17794  Simona Leskovec    Technician  2009 - 2014  25 
27.  25521  PhD Urška Lešnik  Biotechnology  Researcher  2010 - 2012  31 
28.  29435  PhD Špela Levičnik Hoefferle  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2012  22 
29.  05993  PhD Ines Mandić-Mulec  Biotechnology  Principal Researcher  2009 - 2014  590 
30.  28508  PhD Ana Mavri  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2012  37 
31.  21244  PhD Jan Mavri  Pharmacy  Researcher  2009  57 
32.  34175  PhD Levin Pal  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2012  80 
33.  15618  PhD Maja Paš  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  100 
34.  13542  PhD Hrvoje Petković  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  289 
35.  33605  PhD Saša Piskernik  Plant production  Technician  2011 - 2013  58 
36.  04001  PhD Peter Raspor  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2009 - 2013  1,879 
37.  30991  Tanja Rožman    Technician  2009 - 2010 
38.  07030  PhD Sonja Smole - Možina  Animal production  Researcher  2009 - 2014  1,058 
39.  13005  PhD David Stopar  Plant production  Researcher  2009 - 2014  447 
40.  19506  Matej Šergan    Technician  2009 - 2012 
41.  26540  PhD Polonca Štefanič  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  165 
42.  36377  PhD Miha Tome  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2013  27 
43.  30764  PhD Teja Zakrajšek  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2013  10 
44.  26541  PhD Jure Zupan  Biotechnology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  87 
45.  31211  Milena Žabkar    Technician  2009 - 2012 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,524 
2.  2592  ACIES BIO, biotehnološke raziskave in razvoj, d.o.o. (Slovene)  Ljubljana  2226391  472 
The proposed research program focuses on microorganisms and their significant role in natural and industrial environments. Understanding microbial function at the cellular level and at the level of microbial communities enables one to exploit their industrial potential and to control the negative consequences of their action. Microorganisms adapt to changes in physical and chemical parameters in their environment by inducing mechanisms that allow them to overcome the stress conditions and are therefore of grate importance for the action and survival of microbes in their environment. The effect of biological factors and their interactions (viruses, bacteria, fungi and higher organisms) as well as physical and chemical stress parameters (nutrients supply, temperature, humidity, concentrations of salts, metal ions and different anti-microbial agents) on microorganisms will be studied in laboratory model systems. Beside the physiological the ecological aspect of the problem will be studied. The ecology of microbial populations and communities will be studied in complex model systems and also in natural (soil, water) and bioprocess environments (grapes/must and other foods; anti-microbial agents production).The impact of various stress factors on, the flow of nutrients, structure, dinamics and functioning of microbial communities, will be studied. Classical and molecular-biological methods for detection, identification and tipization of microorganisms in food and environment will be developed to enable more efficient detection and monitoring of microorganisms in natural and industrial environments, which will add to the safe food production and the preservation of natural environment.
Significance for science
The research program has achieved important discoveries in the field of microbiology and biotechnology, in food safety and environmental protection. This achievements have been signified through high number of excellent publication and their continuous citations. Microbiology and biotechnology are among the fastest growing areas of modern science and our research has contributed to better understanding of nutrient cycles, of environmental factors that affect emissions of greenhouse gases. We provided novelty in addressing the structure / function relationships of microbial communities in soil and wastewater. Our research has increased the understanding of the role bacteria and archaea play in the removal of excess nitrogen from the soil or pharmaceuticals from wastewater. Studying the impact of stress factors on patogen survival and its resistance to antibiotics, we significantly contributed to steps toward better control of Campylobacter jejuni, the most important enteric pathogen. Bacillus subtilis, industrially important bacteria, but also a probiotic and biopesticide, is used to study social interactions and structural properties of biofilms in the ecological and evolutionary context. These studies resulted in a publication in the best journal (PNAS) and their importance is signified through our collaborations with famous labs at Harvard, Oxford, University of Copenhagen, Jena, Groningen, Budapest. Understanding social interactions is currently one of the hottest topics in science, because we realize that microbes live in the community and can be understood only in the context of sociality. We investigated also the polyketide compounds, which have a very broad spectrum of pharmacological activities from antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer to immunosuppressive. Within the research program, we have made significant progress in understanding the biosynthesis of several very important medical compounds (eg. FK506, erythromycin) as well as compounds with a great potential to solve currently pending needs in pharmacy, such as antibiotic chelocardin. Increased understanding of the mechanisms of polyketide biosynthesis is crucial for the acquisition of new compounds with improved properties by biosynthetic engineering. On the other hand, on the basis of new knowledge we can quickly increase yields of polyketide compounds in the fermentation bioprocesses, which is important for industrially-relevant substances as well as compounds that are produced for research purposes only in the context of clinical and preclinical testing of new drugs. Research program also includes metagenomics, proteomics and metabolomics of microorganisms and also in this field, we have proved a significant impact through publications, citations and co-operations with national and foreign laboratories.
Significance for the country
Studying the biosynthesis of polyketides from actinomycetes has particularly great importance in Slovenia since industrial processes for the production of polyketides are carried out in two of our largest pharmaceutical companies Krka and Lek/Sandoz. The program group members collaborate with both companies and together with Krka and Lek's researchers have developed and patented new procedures to obtain generic agents with multibillion annual market. The obtained results of the research are also of great importance for young biotech company Acies Bio, which is a partner in the program group and develops new active agents, in particular in the areas of neurodegenerative diseases, infections caused by multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacteria and cancer. The new compounds are patent-protected and currently they continue their pre-clinical development in collaboration with top foreign research institutions. All these results indicate a very large and long-lasting positive impact on the Slovenian economy and society. In addition to a significant impact in the field of pharmaceuticals, the program group is also developing skills relevant for environmental technologies and clean environment as well as knowledge and methods to produce and monitor food quality and safety. The social significance of our research is evident through continuous transfer of knowledge to industrial partners and their interest in our work. Program group has an exceptional impact on graduate and post-graduate university education, since most group members are actively involved in teaching and show leadership and excellence in motivating the young generations, which is evidenced by remarkable number of doctoral, master and diploma graduates that have performed their research under the supervision of the group members.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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