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Tools And Strategies to access to original bioactive compounds from Cultivation of MARine invertebrates and associated symbionts

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - TASCMAR (Tools And Strategies to access to original bioactive compounds from Cultivation of MARine invertebrates and associated symbionts)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

TASCMAR aspires to develop new tools and strategies to overcome bottlenecks in the sustainable discovery and industrial application of novel marine derived biomolecules. The project investigates potential applications in pharmaceuticals, food supplements and cosmetics, with a key focus on the theme of anti-aging, as well as technologies for bioremediation.
TASCMAR investigated the under-investigated marine invertebrates and symbionts found in the ocean’s mesophotic zone. Innovative approaches for the cultivation and extraction of marine organisms from lab to pilot-scale were implemented. The project’s activities were constantly assessed for their socio-economic and environmental impact.
TASCMAR has nine main objectives: 1.Exploring neglected and underutilized marine species from the mesophotic zone; 2.Developing and applying innovative cultivation technologies; 3.Exploitation of high-tech extraction technologies; 4.Exploitation of cutting edge molecular isolation and identification technologies; 5.Building seven unique libraries of marine organism, extracts and biomolecules; 6.Discovering novel metabolites with anti-ageing activity; 7.Developing new biocatalysts from mesophotic microorganisms; 8.Engaging a comprehensive industrial valorization scheme; 9.Engaging green and responsible growth driving economic performance.
The TASCMAR project ended on September 30, 2019. The various libraries of the project, including bio-resources, ingredients and chemicals, greatly exceeded the initial commitments, and several new species of invertebrates have been discovered.
The project, oriented towards the concretization of research results, has led to several achievements, technological innovations (Unifertex, Somartex) cosmetic lines (Blue Elixir), enzymatic or microbiological screening kits, a series of pure molecules with therapeutic potential, and extracts as neutraceuticals.
The project builds a considerable scientific network by interacting with the scientific community through workshops organized in major conferences, or by combining efforts with other European projects.
Finally, the project made a wider audience benefit from its discoveries, and trained students of all levels. By publishing several scientific articles and giving dozens of lectures around the world, the TASCMAR consortium has contributed to strengthening knowledge about the infinite potential of the seas and oceans, and to the considerable benefit that humanity can derive from it, in a sustainable way and respectful of the threatened and fragile marine biodiversity.
The bio-resources expected in TASCMAR were collected or isolated beyond expectation. The 4 related libraries were fully constructed. The collection protocols for marine animals were closely followed by all the partners, which lead to recommendation to policy makers and a rood map for the exploitation of the fragile and threatened marine ecosystem.
Libraries of extracts, fractions and pure compounds were produced and dispatched among the bioassay partners. Up to date technologies including solid phase extraction, metabolomics and molecular networks were implemented.
Extracts libraries were screened on molecular, cell based and in-vivo essays. A prioritization process oriented specific extracts, fractions and pure compounds to dedicated Pharma, cosmetic and nutraceutic industrial application.
Strategies and specific facilities are being developed for indoor and outdoor invertebrate cultivation. For the cultivation of marine symbionts, optimal media and cultivation conditions have been determined. Innovative in-situ technologies were also implemented in the project (Speed, Somartex). The unique Unifertex fermentor, coupling in one prototype solid and liquid-state cultivation, was constructed and is now available for the market.
All industrial partner obtained dedicated material to evaluate the feasibility and the market potential. A cosmetic line Blue Elixir, kits for bioremediation were developed. Specific pure compounds were selected as pharma hits and specific extract as nutraceuticals. The final socio–economic and environmental assessment showed that TASCMAR reached remarkable results and its actual and potential impacts are clearly positive. It is worth mentioning the interest and potentiality of TASCMAR team in the field of a circular blue economy, able to exploit in a sustainable way the richness of our ocean for the good of the European society. TASCMAR promoted selective extraction through ROV and expert divers, such a way of approaching the mesophotic ambient should be kept in future projects as it proved to be a good practice.
TASCMAR has obviously impacts also on policies related to extraction and analysis of collected species. In terms of extraction, TASCMAR consortium recommends the use of automatic extraction technologies that allow the minimization of solvents usage and the solid phase extraction. The management of the TASCMAR project was efficiently carried out.
The final socioeconomic and environmental assessment showed that TASCMAR reached remarkable results and its actual and potential impacts are clearly positive. It is worth mentioning the interest and potentiality of TASCMAR team in the field of a circular blue economy, able to exploit in a sustainable way the richness of our ocean for the good of the European society. TASCMAR promoted selective extraction through ROV and expert divers, such a way of approaching the mesophotic ambient should be kept in future projects as it proved to be a good practice. However, the progress made in the cultivation techniques and equipment can be used for the restoration of the marine ecosystems, in this way enhancing the environmental positive impacts of a TASCMAR-like project. Additionally, thanks to SOMARTEX, the collection phase could be made even more sustainable and even avoided if focusing the research on microorganisms instead of their hosting animals. Finally, with extra time it would be interesting to investigate the potentiality of circular economy models in the industrial exploitation of selected extracts. TASCMAR recommends using environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and reusable excipients when needed and more incentives for industrial players on this would be of help. Meanwhile, those should also promote the use of bioactive ingredients. TASMAR partners invest effort in minimizing the waste production and ensure consistency with the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) with a focus on a fair sharing of the benefits deriving from the utilization of biological resources. This could be seen as a good practice to be uptake by other EU projects in the field and also by research and industrial actors outside EU funded projects. The policy recommendations here presented focus on lessons learned in TASCMAR on how to carry out sustainable exploitation of marine ecosystems. TASCMAR has obviously impacts also on policies related to extraction and analysis of collected species.
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