Some like it hot, but dust mites don’t, and the Hohenstein Institutes are capitalizing on that knowledge. Dust mites are microscopic insects that feed on dead skin cells from humans and animals, producing wastes notorious for triggering allergy and asthma attacks. Dr. Dirk Hfer at the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology at the Hohenstein Institutes, Bnnigheim, Germany, worked with Diamona of Wolfsburg, Germany, to create a mattress that heats up to 55 degrees Celsius for an hour each week, killing any mites. Because the mattress environment heats up routinely with flexible textile heating elements inside the foam filling, levels of warmth and moisture remain hostile to mites, so new populations can’t become established.
The Hohenstein Institutes opened its doors to the general public in February to celebrate its “Selected Place in the Land of Ideas” designation from the Germany – Land of Ideas campaign to highlight prominent aspects of German industry and culture. Students in 13 working groups presented their entries in the Hohenstein Schools Competition, “Close contact science,” focused on hygiene and biotechnology textile innovations. For more about the Hohenstein Institutes, visit the Web site at www.hohenstein.de.