Mag. Andrea Steitz (Ext. -37, Email)
The specialized division molecular biology focuses on microorganisms (bacteria. fungi, algae) on surfaces, in soil, in aquatic environments and in biofilms. Furthermore, PCR- finger printing methods e.g. DGGE and t-RFLP are employed for monitoring of microbial communities (bacteria, fungi) in aquatic systems (natural waters, process waters, etc.), biofilms, soils, façades and wood. With the assistance of species specific PCR, cloning and sequencing, microorganisms are identified. Research projects and customer specific contract work in different areas where microorganisms are involved are pursued.
Wood destroying fungi in buildings can cause economic damage and may pose a health hazard to people. Traditionally wood-destroying organisms are identified by means of their macro- and microscopic characteristics and time-consuming microbial methods are employed to isolate and culture them. The biomolecular methods which were developed in the course of a project opened up new pathways for determining fungi on the basis of their genetic fingerprint.
Surface colonization by microorganisms in finishes for façades can occur relatively quickly. Investigations are aimed at finding optimal biocide loadings for surface coatings and at developing a quick method for determining the biological effectiveness of biocides on coated surfaces.
Currently possible correlations between microbial succession and the degradation of active ingredients in preservative treated utility poles are being investigated in a research project. Furthermore relationships between the occurrence of wood destroying organisms in the “above to below ground” transition zone and the diminishing biological effectiveness of biocides are being researched.
Using DGGE fingerprinting the development of biofilms in industrial equipment was investigated alongside its possible correlation with corresponding parameters. By employing cloning techniques bacteria actively involved in the formation of biofilms were identified.
Using biomolecular methods, the development of microorganisms was investigated on wood stored under different conditions. The assessment of the influence of storage conditions upon the development of sap stain fungi was of primary interest.
The analysis of the presence of mould and sap stain fungi in coated modified timber following the exposure to natural weathering is part of current project. A method allowing an early detection of mould and sap stain fungi is being developed. This method will be fundamental in evaluating coating systems.
The specialized division „Molecular biology“ performs DNA analysis for the identification of wood destroying fungi. In accordance with ÖNORM B 3802-4, DNA analysis can be employed in the identification of wood destroying fungi in timber in use whenever the fungus or the infested building materials cannot be identified correctly using traditional methods.
Download „DNA-Analyse zur Bestimmung von Hausfäulepilzen“ (DNA-analysis for the identification of wood destroying fungi; in German
Additional tests can be performed upon request.