BIOMARES sets course to explore the unknown territory of blue biotechnology

(12-11-2021) Our seas and oceans contain an unprecedented wealth of marine organisms, from bacteria, fungi, sponges to algae.

These organisms can be screened for their potential as sustainable producers of high-quality components (eg omega-3 fats and antioxidants). These components are used in a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The potential of marine biotechnology

Marine biotechnology has enormous potential ranging from the development of medicines to the production of food and biofuel. In addition to the above, current and potential markets of marine biological resources also include the development of nutritional supplements, cosmetics, agrochemicals, molecular markers, enzymes, fine chemicals, proteins, biopolymers, biomaterials, etc. Meanwhile, face creams containing seaweed extracts are selling smoothly and chitosan, a sugar obtained from the hard skeleton of crustaceans such as crab, lobster and shrimp, used as a food supplement and medicine to combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, wound healing and so on, is becoming more and more popular.

BIOMARES platform for research and innovation

With the new BIOMARES platform, Ghent University is investing in research and innovation in Marine Biotechnology. The platform is supported by the Industrial Research Fund (IOF) and will mainly focus on the development of processes and applications in the field of biorefinery of marine raw materials and marine bioactive substances. Multiple components can be extracted from the biomass by means of biorefinery.

New products from the sea

Seaweed.pngBIOMARES is a collaboration between the UGent IOF consortia BLUEGent, CropFit, End-of-Waste, ChemTech and Biomolecules. These five consortia unite knowledge of primary and secondary marine biomass and by-products (BLUEGent), biostimulants and biopesticides (CropFit), biorefinery, extraction, fermentation and purification (End-of-Waste), biomaterials (ChemTech) and modification of biopolymers (Biomolecules). , across different research groups and faculties.
The new platform focuses on translating the expertise of the aforementioned consortia into a marine context. This offers numerous new valorisation opportunities for Ghent University, including new:

  • innovative products that enhance the growth and resistance of our crops (biostimulants), but also biopesticides and food additives;
  • techniques for extracting biomass from marine organisms, as well as techniques for increasing production;
  • developments for water treatments that could have their application in the aquaculture sector;
  • aquaculture production protocols. These should result in new collaborations with industry and spin-off opportunities.

Link with different industrial sectors

BIOMARES will work closely with industry. The platform will bring together companies from diverse sectors - including bioeconomy, agrochemicals, food, polymers, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, aquaculture and fisheries - during workshops, where new concepts will be presented to assess feasibility and market opportunity, and to identify opportunities for collaboration. to identify. In this way, BIOMARES wants to bring the developed technologies and products to the market as quickly as possible.

Does your company want to collaborate?

Companies that want to collaborate with BIOMARES on marine biorefinery can contact Filip Velghe, BIOMARES platform coordinator.