The future of marine biotechnology in Europe

„Marine biotechnology is recognized as an outstanding research area with significant potential to contribute to the well-being of the society as well as to the economic growth and sustainable development“ – according to the summary of the organizer GEOMAR, the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, presented at their homepage for the international symposium. It is therefore essential to frequently evaluate the challenges and developments of this particular industry as done on the occasion of the GEOMAR-Biotech opening in the capital of Schleswig-Holstein in December. Within the 100 participants from 13 nations the team BromMarin presented marine sponges as a sustainable product source. Thereby we match the zeitgeist of current research and spin-offs.

On our poster we present the strategy to gain sponges sustainably (poster upper right side), e.g. through marine ranching (aquaculture). Subsequently, the Verongida sponges are extracted by different extraction methods. Particular attention shall be paid to the fact that the bromotyrosine producing cells are located within the skeletal chitin fibre (poster upper left side).

One known example for a bromotyrosine is Aeroplysinin-1, extracted by BromMarin in higher yield. First results on the antibacterial and cytotoxic effects, as applicable in anticancer research, are presented as well (poster bottom left side). Finally, application areas of the sponge α-chitin scaffold are shown (poster bottom right side). The chitin is provided by BromMarin as well and was mentioned by the European researchers several times – e.g. for the usage in tissue engineering.

Additional topics that will determine the future of marine biotechnology are the manifold potential applications of marine plants, including algae and seaweeds. Further, in the interest of the studies are organisms that are able to exist under extreme marine conditions. This field of “extreme biomimetics” is center of the research activity by Prof. Hermann Ehrlich, our mentor. The transfer of scientific results into praxis is of special interest in this field, too.

Still with the memories from Kiel present, to contribute to the future of marine biotechnology, and after merry Christmas vacations with our families, we are ready to take-off in 2016.

Best wishes for a healthy and successful new year to all our partners and followers!


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