The biology laboratory is a modern research infrastructure, providing a broad range of biological and biochemical techniques with in-depth practical training offered by experienced staff. Important routine work is on microbial and molecular analyses and biological sample preparation in general.
Several special applications, such as respiration experiments, enzyme kinetics, sterile culturing of microalgae, morphological taxonomic determination of fish larvae, or fatty acid sample preparation to characterize the nutritional status and composition of marine plankton. All these techniques ground on long standing expertise and a well-equipped facility (high precision scale, photometers, Fast Prep, Casey Cell counter and more).
In addition to the basic tasks such as providing bench space or experimental setups in the constant temperature room, the biological laboratories offers some specialized working areas.
One sector of the biological laboratory is organized as protection level 2-area to allow for culturing microalgae and bacteria in a clean and safe environment. In addition to the core infrastructure of incubators, deep freezers and clean benches, the microbiology laboratory performs genetic engineering according to safety level 1.
Post-PCR and pre-PCR areas are spatially separated to avoid contamination of environmental samples. Special care is taken for the analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) that is extracted and handled in a specifically designed lab container. The molecular laboratory conducts DNA and RNA work in single tube as well as high-throughput plate format.
Different optical instruments, like stereo and fluorescence microscopes, offer a wide range of taxonomic and histological work supplemented by a buoyant weight system.
Fume hood and suction systems provide a safe environment when working with formol samples from field samplings and other volatile samples.
Field work is important at the ZMT, and thus, the biological laboratory offers comprehensive field equipment including, e.g., a multinet, multiparameter probes, autonomous loggers and several optical sensor systems to measure photosynthesis (PAM), light (LICOR) or to apply near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Field sampling activities of biological material is supported by the maintenance of a formol storage room.
Prof. Dr. Martin Zimmer, Dr. Achim Meyer, Stefanie Bröhl, Levy Otwoma, Constanze von Waldthausen and Sonja Peters