Partner FZJ: One of The Largest Research Centres In Europe - Hidden In A Small Town

| By Leon Kirschgens & Jacqueline Plaster
Phd Student Yannic Ackermann working in laboratory of FZJ

Jülich is a tranquil little town. Just 32,000 people live here. The small river Rur could make the small-town idyll perfect if there were not something that makes Jülich famous far beyond the city and national borders: Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ). The research institution regularly draws attention to itself with new findings in the fields of health, energy and the environment. Not so long ago, for example, the Research Centre developed a unique quantum computer together with Google.

The renowned research centre was also involved in the predecessor project of MIXUP and has always been a close partner of RWTH Aachen University, which is only 30 kilometres away as the crow flies. It is therefore all the more gratifying that FZJ is also a partner in the MIX-UP project. Under the leadership of Professor Nick Wierckx, the team focus primarily on the development and optimization of mixed cultures for the conversion of plastic hydrolysates into value-adding chemicals. Professor Wierckx has extensive experience in both the bio-upcycling of plastic waste and the bio-based production of plastic monomers. Yannic Ackermann, who completed his master's thesis at Forschungszentrum Jülich last year, also has an important role to play. In the MIX-UP project, he is developing bacteria strains called Pseudomonas putida to assimilate various plastic waste hydrolysates. At the same time, he will establish the synthesis of aromatics from plastic monomers with the help of adaptive laboratory development and metabolic engineering.