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Sustainable production of biologically active molecules of marine based origin

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Making use of Europe's marine diversity

A large-scale research initiative has discovered a number of new chemicals and enzymes from marine organisms, and developed sustainable methods of production.

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Europe has broad marine diversity along with a well-developed biotechnology research sector. Taken together, Europe is well positioned for marine biotechnology to contribute to its growing bioeconomy. The EU-funded BAMMBO (Sustainable production of biologically active molecules of marine based origin) project set out to promote marine biotechnology in Europe through bioprospecting and improving laboratory methods for growing marine organisms. Project members started by screening massive numbers of marine organisms (algae, sponges, fungi, bacteria and yeast) for bioactivity such as antioxidant or antimicrobial effects. This was supported by a market analysis that indicated which types of biomolecules are most valuable. BAMMBO created a digital repository of these screened organisms, called a biobank. Part of this process included developing standardised protocols to ensure that the biobank continues to run smoothly. Researchers discovered antioxidants, antimicrobial compounds, enzymes to prevent skin ageing and an extract that prevents barnacles attaching to surfaces. Another aspect of the project focused on improving laboratory culture of both macro- and microalgae. Researchers created and tested several new prototype reactors for sustainable algae production. They also developed immortalised algae cell lines to limit harvesting of natural resources. The BAMMBO project has produced significant intellectual property, including patented products, methods and new production processes. These discoveries will help the European marine bioeconomy grow and become more competitive.


Marine diversity, marine organisms, marine biotechnology, bioeconomy, biologically active molecules

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