A team of scientists from the Graz University of Technology has been awarded a grant from the BMWFW (Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) of a sum of EUR 100,000  for the development of a biotechnological production method for horseradish enzymes.


Clinical diagnostics or wastewater treatment cannot possibly be imagined without the “hot” enzymes anymore.

Although possibly causing tears now and then, horseradish is an integral part of Austrian cuisine. For industry, horseradish has proved to be very useful, because of its enzymes. Especially the so-called horseradish peroxidases have proved to be very important. These enzymes are essential for numerous reactions in the life of the horseradish plant. Florian Krainer form the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Graz University of Technology is aware about the many benefits of the horseradish enzymes: “They play an important role in clinical diagnostics. For example for testing if antibodies have been raised after a vaccination and when a vaccination has to be refreshed. One may apply the enzyme in wastewater treatment as well, in order to remove hormones or other types of contaminations from the water”.

Industrial Enzyme-Production

Together with his colleague from the Graz University of Technology, Anton Glieder, it is the aim of Florian Krainer to enable the production of large amounts of high-quality enzymes and therefore, places emphasis on biotechnology and the enzyme production using the yeast pichia pastoris. It has been approved by the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration), categorised as safe and therefore an ideal production organism.

28 natural Horseradish Enzymes discovered

Florian Krainer had already discovered 28 natural horseradish peroxidases together with his Finnish colleague Laura Näätsaari and Anton Glieder in a cooperation project between the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) and the NAWI Graz Doktoratskolleg „DK Molecular Enzymology“ and has made first steps in the direction of biotechnological production of the enzymes. Two patents are pending already. The problem so far has been that industry has to process several tons of horseradish plant roots in order to obtain the necessary enzyme quantities. „This is contradictory to the use of horseradish as food and the use of agricultural areas for food production. Furthermore, plants and therefore enzymes are subject to natural fluctuations“, explains Krainer. With yeast as a new host for the production of enzymes, industrial scale production should be possible: „We want to offer high quality preparations of the valuable and versatile horseradish peroxidase, independent of agricultural production and in sufficient quantity“, explains Krainer.

Prototype thanks to the PRIZE-Funding from the BMWFW

In order to prepare the patented production of horseradish enzymes for the market, an application was submitted for the prototype grant within the framework of the PRIZE Programme of the BMWFW and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH – and proved successful: The project was funded with 100,000 Euro. The prototype development started in summer 2015 and lasts for at least one year. The Knowledge Transfer Centre South offers subsequent support in the exploitation of the funded prototype. The prototype funding programme PRIZE carried out by the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws) takes place within the framework of the programme launched by BMWFW „Knowledge Transfer Centres and IPR Exploitation“, in which the cooperation between science and industry should be encouraged.

This project belongs to the Field of Expertise „Human & Biotechnology“, one of the five main areas of research at the Graz University of Technology.

For questions please contact:
Florian Krainer, MSc.
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology
E-Mail: florian.krainer@tugraz.at
Tel.: +43 (0) 316 873 4077

Pictures: H.D.Volz/pixelio.de

Written by: Graz University of Technology, KK
on: 08/04/2015