Food Technology and Nutrition Center of Excellence

Model organism Caenorhabditis elegans

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a soil nematode of about 1 mm in size, which is used in our reasearch group as a sensitive and reliable in-vivo high-throughput system for the characterization of various substances and drugs. The worm shares large sequence homologies to higher organisms, respectively some major metabolic pathways are highly conserved. Thus, the holistic live animal model offers extensive opportunities for detailed identification of regulatory mechanisms as well as prediction of effects on higher organisms.

Technical Data:

Test system with high physiological relevance | living whole animal model | no animal trail (no ethical concerns/restrictions) | high sample throughput

R&D Services
  • Toxicity (DART assay, Lifespan assay, LD50 values).
  • Gene expression analysis and next generation sequencing (NGS)
  • Fluorescence reporter genes for substance characterization
  • Currently, 47 validated target genes and 32 fluorescence reporters are available
  • Model system for heat stress and oxidative stress (ROS)
  • Lipid accumulation


The HET-CAM, also known as the hen's egg test, is a method for testing the mucosal tolerance of chemicals or their cytotoxicity. Furthermore, the HET-CAM can also be used to study blood glucose regulating substances. Insulin resistance and failure of insulin-producing beta cells are major problems of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Since common drugs are associated with many side effects, secondary plant compounds with insulin mimetic character are increasingly attracting research interest. With the HET-CAM we have established a system to test these substances in-ovo. For this purpose, chicken eggs are incubated for eleven days and treated with the substances to be tested. Blood is then taken from the chicken embryos and the blood glucose level is determined. This is a simple way to measure the effect of a substance on blood glucose levels over time in a living organism. Furthermore, this system is suitable to test the toxicity of substances on the organism.

Technical Data:

Test system with high physiological relevance (in-ovo) | no pain sensation of the chicken embryo due to the shortened incubation period | no ethical review required | alternative to controversial stimulus tests

R&D Services
  • Characterization of selected phytamines with respect to insulin-mimetic properties
  • Characterization of selected substances

Model organism Drosophila

Drosophila melanogaster (D. melanogaster), also known as a fruit fly or a vinegar fly, is a fly of the Drosophilidae family of about 3 mm in length. D. melanogaster will be established in our research group as an in vivo model organism for the study of the intestinal functions (e.g. absorbance, digestion, intestinal immune defence) and cognitive functions (e.g. memory and learning) in context of phytogenic substances. The fully sequenced genome of D. melanogaster points that ca. 60% of genome is homologous to that of a human and therefore makes this species a valuable in vivo model for various nutrition studies. The relatively short life span of the fruit fly allows life-long complex studies of the phytogenic compounds and drugs to observe the impact of the tested drugs on the longevity, fertility, and the genetic impact on the next generation of flies.

Technical Data:

Test system with high physiological relevance | living whole animal model | no animal trail (no ethical concerns/restrictions) | various disease model strains

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