Research topics

Bacteria are real survivalists. Living in various water sources and in the environment microorganisms are able to adapt and to survive. They vary in physiology; they are able to change to other states as to viable-but-not-cultivability (VBNC) or to dormancy and they may develop tolerances to disinfection and antibiotics. Besides being harmless to humans many pathogens may exist in water sources such as species of Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Legionella species, coliform and Escherichia coli as well as multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa: it is a dreaded pathogen for hospital-acquired infections, which often occurred as contamination of cold water systems, especially in new buildings. This species is able to adapt quickly to new environmental conditions, develop tolerances to disinfections and form biofilms where they permanently fixed.

Legionella: this genus is known to be able to cause a dangerous infectious pneumonia. Legionella are water bacteria, which are found in nature environments and which have been settled in the course of industrialization in water supplies and heating systems as well. They have developed to a dangerous problem species.

Coliform and Escherichia coli: One of the great problems is the increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment, in aquatic sources and in hospitals.

Many questions have to be answered concerning physiology, virulence and pathogenicity of the microorganisms isolated from water pipes and from the environment in order to protect people from disease causative organisms. We analyze and improve cultivation conditions with regard to specificity, sensitivity and rapidity. Furthermore we develop cultivation independent methods on cell and on molecular-biological bases with live/dead differentiation. And we look to physical and chemical compounds in water which may have an important influence on bacterial growth and survival.

Our aim is to develop novel, suitable and purposeful prevention strategies for safe hygiene and healthcare.