Marine Ecology

The Kiel Center for Marine Natural Products at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research

KiWiZ fermentor

KiWiZ is a platform for natural product research specifically from marine microorganisms covering aspects from the habitat to the hit for drug candidates and aims to include research on ecological aspects of natural products as well as on their biotechnological production. It essentially studies the biology and chemistry of marine natural products and their microbial producers. The exploration of the marine microbial biodiversity with respect to natural products, the development of methods for their biotechnological production with minimised risks for nature and man as well as their sustainable use is considered.

The focus of the KiWiZ at GEOMAR is on identification, production and promotion of new natural products from marine microbial sources and the investigation of their biological activities and ecological function. Studies of the KiWiZ include all aspects from sampling, isolation and identification of the microorganisms in order to describe biodiversity, their preservation in culture collections, revelation of genomic potentials, as well as the extraction, purification, structure elucidation and characterisation of natural products from the cultured bacteria and fungi in order to describe and understand chemodiversity of marine microbes. In addition, optimisation of production conditions and scale up to a pilot scale for biotechnological production of bioactive natural products are considered as part of a sustainable approach for marine biotechnology. The research of KiWiZ relies on the extremely high diversity of marine microorganisms either newly cultured with special intention or contained in the large culture collections of KiWiZ containing marine bacteria and fungi covering more than 15.000 isolates, with a high proportion of new and unknown taxa. Important aspects became the growing panel of biological assay systems, in which suitability for specific applications is tested and the establishment of a substance library of pure marine natural products. With its unique setup and resources, the KiWiZ has developed into an excellent scientific centreon new natural products from marine microorganisms, being operated by an interdisciplinary team of scientists. Basic aspects on biology and chemistry of marine natural products as well as applied research topics are considered. It is a research platform for studies on the biology and chemistry of marine natural products and offers continuous supply from marine microbial sources into early drug discovery.


For further information please see

Broschüre "The Kiel Center for Marine Natural Products at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research GEOMAR"

 Download KiWiZ Flyer

The KiWiZ is located Am Kiel-Kanal 44, D-24106 Kiel


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Film: Medicines from the ocean


Head of the Research Unit:

Prof. Dr. Johannes F. Imhoff
GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Westshore Campus
Düsternbrooker Weg 20 
D-24105 Kiel 
Phone: ++49-431 - 600-4450 + 4433
Fax: ++49-431 - 600-4452
e-mail: jimhoff(at)

Personal Assistant / Office Management:

Bettina Reuter
Phone: ++49-431 600-4451
Fax: ++49-431 - 600-4452
email: breuter(at)