Biohybrid materials

Biohybrid materials: Biology meets chemistry and technology

The philosophy in the innovation field of bioinspired chemistry is to take advantage of the properties and structures of natural molecules for their profitable use in the production of target products, while retaining their functionalities. Thereby, biohybrid materials play a major role, acting as interface between the disciplines of biology, chemistry and technology and leading towards enhanced synergy effects.

But what is meant by biohybrid materials? We define these materials as functional materials covering a broad spectrum involving the efficient combination of a biogenic and non-biogenic part. That includes the combination of the unique properties of organic biomolecules, e.g. proteins and DNA, or chemical substances, e.g. metal catalysts, minerals or trace elements, with technical or non-biological components, e.g. surfaces or polymers. This leads to transient, responsive and/or switchable materials that can be profitably used directly as end products or as platforms for the synthesis of target products.

Currently, the following projects are being developed:

  • Combination of chemical catalysts with biobased supporting materials
  • Bioelectrocatalytic NADPH regeneration and CO2 reduction through the immobilization of enzymes in redox-active polymers deposited on electrode materials
  • Incorporation of trace elements and minerals into porous sorption-capable biocomponents

The combination of natural and technical materials allows to overcome previous limitations in terms of efficiency, choice of possible raw materials or product spectrum. In the case of catalytically active biohybrid materials, it is also possible to combine different types of catalysis to exploit the full potential of chemical, biological and electrochemical catalysis.

Biohybrid materials
© Fraunhofer IGB
Biobased supporting materials for heterogeneous metal catalysts.
Biohybrid materials
© Fraunhofer IGB
Immobilization of biohybrid materials on electrodes.
Biohybrid materials
© Fraunhofer IGB
Loading of porous sorptive biocomponents with desired components.


  • Development of suitable biohybrid materials for synthesis optimization
  • Enzyme selection and screening in the biohybrid materials
  • Bioelectrocatalysis
  • Biobased supporting materials for heterogeneous metal catalysts
  • Hybrid materials for the agricultural industry


Castañeda-Losada, L., Adam, D., Paczia, N., Buesen, D., Steffler, F., Sieber, V., Erb, T. J., Richter, M., Plumeré, N., Bioelectrocatalytic Cofactor Regeneration Coupled to CO2 Fixation in a Redox-Active Hydrogel for Stereoselective C−C Bond Formation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 21056,

Iwanow, M., Seidler, J., Vieira, L., Kaiser, M., Van Opdenbosch, D., Zollfrank, C., Gärtner, T., Richter, M., König, B., Sieber, V. Enhanced C2 and C3 Product Selectivity in Electrochemical CO2 Reduction on Carbon-Doped Copper Oxide Catalysts Prepared by Deep Eutectic Solvent Calcination. Catalysts, 2021, 11, S. 542,

Iwanow, M., Gärtner, T., Sieber, V., König, B. Activated carbon as catalyst support: Precursors, preparation, modification and characterization. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2020, 16, S. 1188‐1202,

Iwanow, M., Vieira, L., Rud, I., Seidler, J., Kaiser, M., Van Opdenbosch, D., Zollfrank, C., Richter, M., Gärtner, T., König, B., Sieber, V. Pyrolysis of Deep Eutectic Solvents for the Preparation of Supported Copper Electrocatalysts. ChemistrySelect, 2020, 5, S. 11714-11720,

Iwanow, M., Finkelmeyer, J., Söldner, A., Kaiser, M., Gärtner, T., Sieber, V., König, B. Preparation of supported Palladium Catalysts using Deep Eutectic Solvents. Chemistry - A European Journal, 2017, 23, S. 12467-12470,

Gärtner, T., Kaiser, M., Sieber, V., Söldner, A., König, B., Iwanow, M., Pyrolytic method for the production of particles containing at least one metal species. PCT/EP2016/060874

Reference projects


January 2024 – December 2026


Simulation-guided development of an electricity or H2-driven in-vitro acetyl-CoA production module as platform chemical from CO2 for diversity oriented synthesis

In eCO₂DIS, synthetic biology, bioelectrocatalysis and polymer chemistry will converge to a powerful technology for diversity oriented synthesis of value added target compounds directly from CO₂. The synthetic diversification of acetyl-CoA will be demonstrated for 3 different product types: aliphatic alcohols, aromatics, and structurally complex natural products.


November 2023 – October 2026


Electrobiocatalytic cascade for bulk reduction of CO2 to CO coupled to fermentative production of high value diamine monomers

ECOMO unites bioelectrocatalysis, biohybrid materials sciences, organic synthesis, technical microbiology, and process engineering for CO gas fermentation to acetate and a subsequent fermentative production of diamines.

March 2021 – February 2023

BioFraMe II –

Tailor-made bio-based frameworks for heterogeneous metal catalysts

BioFraMe is an innovative, broadly applicable supporting material for the preparation of bio‑based heterogeneous metal catalysts. The composition and properties of the supporting materials and the loading with desired metals can easily be tailored to the planned applications based on the selection of the starting materials.


January 2019 – December 2022

eBioCO2n –

Electricity-driven CO2 conversion through synthetic enzyme cascades

The project pursues an ambitious approach to converting CO2 into chemicals with electricity from renewable sources: Similar to photosynthesis, CO2 is to be fixed with electron-transmitting biocatalysts and then linked to further enzymatic conversion steps.

October 2021 – September 2022

Tape2Grape –

Bio-based, biodegradable grafting tape for fruit growing and agriculture

Tape2Grape is a 100 percent bio-based multifunctional grafting tape for fruit and ornamental trees, which can be equipped with individual biological ingredients. Tape2Grape is biodegradable and therefore makes an important contribution to holistic, ecological agriculture.


October 2021 – September 2022

ChitoLogEn –

Chitosan-based redox-active hydrogels for the modern bioelectrosynthesis

ChitoLogEn is an innovative chitosan-based redox-active polymer. It works as a biobased matrix for the immobilization of redox enzymes on electrodes with applications in bioelectrocatalytic processes including bioelectrosynthesis and energy conversion.

October 2020 – September 2021

HanAkku –

Tailor-made hemp-based storage material for modern energy, water and agriculture-based economy

HanAkku are innovative and easy-to-manufacture 100 percent bio-based hemp shive materials for the targeted storage of substances from solutions and their controlled release (biodepots) for diverse and demand-oriented use in the energy, water and agricultural sectors.