"From sea-bed to test-bed: harvesting the potential of marine biodiversity for industrial biotechnology"
SeaBioTech is an EU-FP7 project designed and driven by SMEs to create innovative marine biodiscovery pipelines as a means to convert the potential of marine biotechnology into novel industrial products for the pharmaceutical (human and aquaculture), cosmetic, functional food and industrial chemistry sectors.
To achieve its goals, SeaBioTech brings together complementary and world-leading experts, integrating biology, genomics, natural product chemistry, bioactivity testing, industrial bioprocessing, legal aspects, market analysis and knowledge exchange.
Concept of SeaBioTech
SeaBioTech, an integrated approach on marine biodiscovery pipelines: the project’s innovation is at two levels. The first level corresponds to scientific, technical and technological challenges, and includes:
Challenge 1: The approach to resource quality will begin by standardizing the sampling process from unique and previously untapped habitats, including geothermal intertidal biotopes in Iceland, hydrothermal vent fields and deep sea oligotrophic basins of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and unsampled areas of Scottish coasts that are likely to be highly productive sources of new bioactive compounds. The SeaBioTech sampling process will guarantee the quality of marine resources for further industrial development, including identification of marine microorganisms and their variability based on genomics and metagenomics. This project will also integrate the critical aspect of the maintenance of the sampled species with their intrinsic quality and their secondary metabolites, by developing special cultivation media and storage conditions.
Challenge 2: The improvement in technical aspects: to improve marine biodiscovery and reassure industries about its feasibility, SeaBioTech will perfectly combine metabolomics assisted by systems biology and functional bioassays to increase the ability to uncover positive hits with a cheaper and faster approach: an affordable, innovative and efficient method to separate, elucidate the structure, and identify the bioactive metabolites.
Challenge 3: Sustainable modes of supply of raw materials for the industries: The last technical brick for industries is the sustainability of these newly discovered raw materials not only at lab scale but also at industrial scale. Thus, SeaBioTech will benefit from the power of well-controlled metabolic engineering of interesting organisms (bacteria, microalgae, cyanobacteria) to increase the yield of bioactive metabolites at lab scale and multiply this yield through fermentation technology at industrial scale to deliver promising enzymes, polymers and small molecules as industries need.
Challenge 4: The whole biodiscovery process is completed by the clarification of all legal aspects to gain visibility and efficiency for industries. SeaBioTech will perfectly coordinate the legal procedures with national, European and international authorities/stakeholders to propose harmonization of the legal process related to marine bioprospecting, biodiscovery and marine biotechnology for commercial purposes.
Challenge 5: To crystalize this innovative approach, SeaBiotech will create a centralized tool to describe the whole marine biodiscovery pipeline including available biobanks, the identified marine organisms, compounds and extracts, the cutting-edge methods in identification, elucidation, metabolic engineering to be further used for industrial purposes with all related procedures on legal process for companies, academia, and legal authorities.
Lund University's representative:
PhD. student Emanuel Ron