German chemical giant BASF claims to have significantly optimised the biotechnological production of vitamin B2, the company announced last week. In cooperation with the University of Salamanca, Spain, BASF researchers investigated a fungus with the scientific name of Ashbya gossypii. The company and university partners succeeded with biotechnological methods in raising the productivity of the microorganism by 20 per cent. For this work, BASF received the prize "Familia del Rector D. Miguel de Unamuno Mecenas de la Universidad," awarded for the first time by the University of Salamanca. "With the award, the university acknowledges the success of the scientific work and the industrial implementation of the results. We have already filed more than ten patent applications." leading researcher Dr. Burkhard Kröger commented. In the research work, enzymes played a key role. Certain enzymes enabled the Ashbya gossypii fungus to live on vegetable oils and to produce vitamin B2 from these renewable raw materials. Vitamin B2 is used as a dietary supplement in both human nutrition and in animal feeds.