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Dinoflagellate phytotoxins exploitation


Dinoflagellates are microalgae which produce a wide range of toxins. These toxins are mostly unknown (only 1% have been identified) but they have proven to be efficient in different market application: biopesticides, drug discovery and food safety testing. Biopesticides and drug discovery are seeking for new active compounds which may come from dinoflagellate toxins. Culture of dinoflagellates (and thus production of toxins) is not mastered by current technologies due to the extreme sensitivity to shearing forces of these algae. The current price of toxins isolated from dinoflagellates is very high (3 – 30 k€/ mg). Consequently, these toxins are poorly exploited as drug lead or biopesticides despite their renowned potential. PLANKTOVIE developed a disruptive patented technology (Soft mixer) which enable efficient dinoflagellate culture. A prototype has been developed and allows culture of dinoflagellate which are currently grown in static conditions due to their extreme shearing-forces sensitivity (and with very low production yield). This technology will be combined during the project with a carbonation membrane photobioreactor to increase the intake of CO2 in the culture. This should allow us to demonstrate the commercial production of 3 toxins isolated from dinoflagellates (production yields ranging from 3 to 24 g per year for a 200 L DINOPHYTE bioreactor).
Targeted markets are promising and in progress: Biopesticides : 3.5 bn€ ; food safety : 12 bn€ ; drug discovery :100 bn€ (worldwide by 2020). PLANKTOVIE received encouraging support from actors of these markets. The aim of the SME instrument phase 1 is to demonstrate the industrial production capacity of DINOPHYTE and to provide indepth knowledge of the markets. Market analysis will be performed for the biopesticide, drug discovery and food safety markets. The results of market study and feasibility study will be used to build a comprehensive market access strategy and business plan.

Field of science

  • /agricultural sciences/agricultural biotechnology/biomass
  • /medical and health sciences/medical biotechnology/cells technologies/stem cells
  • /engineering and technology/other engineering and technologies/food and beverages/food safety
  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-1 - SME instrument phase 1


45 Rue Joliot Curie Hotel Technologique De Chateau Gombert
13382 Marseille
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 50 000