Marine Biotechnology securing Industrial Products and Processes

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Mbt jellyfish.jpg
The green fluorescent protein (GTP) of the jellyfish Aequorea victoria has widespread applications in molecular biology as a reporter protein.

Proteins and enzymes from marine organisms already contribute significantly to industrial biotechnology but can also support novel process development in the food and pharmaceutical industries or in molecular biology and diagnostic kits. For example, the luminescent properties of the jellyfish Aequorea victoria led to the characterisation of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). GFP and the luciferase enzyme from Vibrio fischeri have widespread applications in molecular biology as a reporter protein. The same is true for the shrimp alkaline phosphatease and other marine derived enzymes with unique heat labile properties used to simplify molecular biology reactions like PCR and others.

In the past decade, biopolymers of marine origin have received increasing attention from the medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for numerous applications ranging from biodegradable plastics to food additives, pharmaceutical and medical polymers, wound dressings, bio-adhesives, dental biomaterials, tissue regeneration and 3D tissue culture scaffolds. However, marine-derived biomaterials science is still relatively new and the marine environment is, as yet, a relatively untapped resource for the discovery of new enzymes, biopolymers and biomaterials for industrial applications.

Examples of Marine Biotechnology research for Industrial Products and Processes

Research priorities and objectives

Overarching research target:

Development of marine derived molecules exploitable by industry including enzymes, biopolymers and biomaterials.

Key research priorities:

  • Develop enabling technologies for high throughput enzyme screening and for the expression of marine proteins and enzymes through dedicated hosts;
  • Produce marine biopolymers as novel competitive commercial products in food, cosmetics and health.