n°1. New partnerships for blue biotechnology development

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Gunnar Myrdal
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Jack Rudloe
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June 2012
New Partnerships for
Blue Biotechnology Development
L. Giuliano, M. Barbier
CIESM - The Mediterranean Science Commission
Drawings, cover and interior design: Grafiche Tintoretto s.r.l.
Editorial supervision: Frédéric Briand
Compositor and printer: Grafiche Tintoretto s.r.l.
To be cited as:
CIESM, 2011. New partnerships for blue biotechnology
development. CIESM Marine Policy Series 1 [L. Giuliano and M. Barbier, Eds.], 52 pp. .
ISSN 2306-4897
second printing, June 2012
CIESM Publishers, 16, Bd. de Suisse, 98000 Monaco
© CIESM. All rights reserved
CIESM - The Mediterranean Science Commission - www.ciesm.org
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Blue Biotechnology and Nanotechnology in Maritime Transport
Blue Biotechnology for biomedical sectors
Marketing opportunities for Jellyfish
Intellectual property regarding Mediterranean marine genetic resources
Further reading 33
Annex 1 – Profiles of seminars’ participants 35
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
With this first issue, the Mediterranean Science Commission is proud to launch its
new CIESM Marine Policy Series, a collection that will address questions which we
consider of major importance at the sensitive interface between marine science
and policy.
Recent years have brought major advances on the front of Mediterranean marine
research, amply demonstrating that gaps in knowledge are no longer an obstacle
for scientific excellence or for sound maritime governance in our region. It is rather
the persistent dysfunctionings of the communication between research, industry
and policy levels which prevent optimal harnessing of the innovations that are
flowing out of the marine science and technology sector.
CIESM is determined to facilitate dialogue and collaborations between marine
research and all concerned maritime stakeholders and policy makers. We hope
that this Series will play a useful role in this endeavour.
This report, focused on the fast-growing marine biotechnology sector, and carefully
edited by Drs Laura Giuliano and Michèle Barbier, is the outcome of a very fruitful
brainstorming exercise which our Commission organized in 2011. Some thirty
experts were invited to Monaco on this occasion(see list of participants at end
of volume) for in-depth discussions that took place in both parallel and plenary
sessions. As the reader will remark, the topics covered were dense, including
inter alia blue nano- and bio-technology applications for enhancing performance
and eco-compatibility in maritime transport, biosensors, bioremediations, antibiofouling, production of pharma- and neutra-ceuticals. Given the vulnerability
and sensitivity of Mediterranean countries in this regard, particular attention was
paid to the much needed international cooperation in strengthening access,
benefit sharing and intellectual property rights.
Prof Frédéric Briand
Editor, Marine Policy Series
Director General, CIESM
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Blue Biotechnology and Nanotechnology in Maritime
David Gutnick (Univ. Tel Aviv, Israel),
Patrick Baraona (Pôle Mer PACA, Marseille, France), Giancarlo Coletta (Grimaldi
Group, Naples, Italy), Mario Dogliani (Technology Platfom for Mediterranean and
Black Seas, Genova, Italy) William Helbert (CNRS Station Biologique Roscoff,
France), Willem Laros (Community of European Shipyards’ Associations,
Brussels, Belgium), Susanna Longo (Regione Piemonte, Torino, Italy), Gokdeniz
Neser (Dokuz Eylul Univ., Izmir, Turkey), Lucio Sabbadini (Distretto Ligure delle
Tecnologie Marine, La Spezia, Italy), Candan Tamerler (Istanbul Technical Univ.,
Turkey, Seattle, USA), Maria Varvate (Oceanfinance, Piraeus, Greece), Tom
Dedeuwaerdere (Univ. Leuven, Belgium).
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
1. Key issues
1.1 What are the key problems facing the shipping industry?
Today‘s Problems
§ Ballast water treatment
§ Biofouling and biocorrosion
§ Viscuous drag and its effects on vessel speed
§ Sanitation of ventilation and conditioning pipelines
Designing ships for the future
§ “Bioinspired materials”
• Alternatives to steel
• Biodegradability
• Protection from corrosion and biofouling
How to “bury” a dead ship? How deal with the enormous waste disposal
Contamination of ships, ports, and other facilities?
1.2 Nanotechnology and blue biotechnological applications in areas
New materials
Integrating blue biotech into design principles for the future
1.3 Research and technological issues
Suitable funding
Scale-up of production of new materials
§ From the nanoscale – to the scale of hundreds of tons
§ Field trials and results‘ evaluating
1.4 Partnering
Modes of collaboration
§ Goals
§ Scope
§ Who brings what to the partnership?
§ How much does a scientist know about application-based research?
The scientist should be part of the project from its inception.
The regional cluster model
§ Common interests without fixed geographical borders
§ Advantages and disadvantages of the cluster model
§ What form does R&D take in a cluster?
1.5 Intellectual property
Who owns it? Who profits from it? Rights and responsibilities
Patents and legal restrictions.
§ Are they always necessary?
§ The role of secrecy vs. the need to publish or perish
§ The role of the academic – Are there models for this kind of industry? Is
the academic a partner, or a sub-contractor?
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
2. Projected directions for basic research
2.1 Nanotechnology
Life as we know, which occurs within a continuum of size dimensions, rests on
the way molecules are efficiently assembled so as to allow highly sophisticated
biological processes in response to signals. In fact, differences in nanoscale
molecular assembly of the same compound may lead to significant changes in its
physical and chemical properties. Due to the need to expand the knowledge base
in this area, nano- science and technology will probably have a stronger impact on
the design and construction of ships for the future.
The following questions represent a sampling of typical scientific questions and
challenges that could impact ship design and construction in the future.
1. What are the principles driving the self-assembly of molecules to form structures
with unique mechanical and architectural properties?
2. Can the design principles be used to develop new materials and even
nanomachines, whose size can be exploited to penetrate tiny pores and in normally
impermeable surfaces?
3. Can new materials be generated which exhibit unusual properties of hardness,
resilience, versatility and compatibility with other materials?
4. Can a biological process be mimicked (a process termed biomimetics) using
chemical reagents and appropriate templates for assembly of molecular structures
(such as nanotubes, nanowires, nanoparticles, etc) ?
2.3 Blue biotechnology
The development of modern genomics and the emergence of high-throughput gene
sequencing technology have led to the emergence of a new concept in microbiology
- the microbiome. The term microbiome refers to the entire microbial population
within a specific environmental niche. Microbiomes in different environments have
been shown to change in population diversity and density as a function of changes
in environmental conditions. Within the human body for example, shifts in dietary
habits, ingestion of even slightly polluted foods and water supply, age, etc. can
affect the microbiome in the gut which can in turn lead to dramatic emergence of
pathogenic organisms, toxin production, establishment of persistent infections, etc.
Microbiomes described in pipelines, for example, indicate that specific populations
appear to be preferentially located at centers of corrosion.
1. What are the characteristics of specific microbiomes in ships (i.e. tanks, outer
surfaces, bilges, etc.)?
2. How stable are microbiomes and how do they change with the age of a ship, its
cargo and specific trade routes?
Answers to these questions, also under investigation in modern disease control
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
(i.e. dentistry), will lead to the development of “ship microbiology” with various
applications. Here follow two examples:
- New monitoring systems to check the emergence of novel, often
damaging organisms on board.
- Microbial bioremediation to degrade organic pollutants in ballast
water (i.e. using ballast tanks as floating bioreactors). Since the largest
bioremediation application involves the use of microbes to degrade
organic waste in water purification systems in all parts of the globe, such
problems that face the shipping industry today may be addressed using
applications from other industries. For example, biodegrading organisms,
once identified in the ballast water, could be incorporated into biofiltration
systems for continuous bioremediation as developed by G.E. Corp. for
treatment of highly toxic PCBs that were accumulating in New York rivers.
It is tempting to envision a “biopipe” constructed modules of biofilters
carrying such microbes, through which ballast water could be pumped in a
eco-friendly disposal system.
3. Provisional recommendations
The participants emphasized the enormous potential of nanoscience and
nanotechnology to impact many of the issues listed above.
Specific recommendations include:
a. Evaluate properties of surfaces to enable development of more suitable paints
and coatings.
b. Use the properties of bioactive small and polymeric molecules for incorporation
into a program in development of new materials through the implementation
of biomimetics.
c. Study the strength and robustness in the development of new ship
construction materials – e.g. new fibers, composites etc.
d. Develop “bioinspired” materials to enhance ship performance, stability and
recycling. Nanobiotechnology will be clearly a pillar of programs designing
ships for the future.
e. Biotechnology solutions may already be at hand for development in current
problems such as biofouling (antiadhesion of fouling organisms), corrosion,
f. Biodegradation and remediation in sludge disposal, filtercleaning, bilge water
treatment etc.
3.1 Ships for the future
New principles of nanotechnology and biotechnology must be incorporated into
new projects aiming at designing “ships for the future”.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
3.2 Partnering
It was recommended to focus concretely on a particular project that would
incorporate the cooperative efforts of a multidisciplinary consortium from its
initial stages on. In fact it is clear that the success of the program will depend on
proper management and coordination between scientists, engineers, business
people and legal advisers. This will enable appropriate lines of communication, and
establishment of common goals based on realistic appraisals of project magnitude.
The only model for cooperation discussed in this session was based on the recent
experience of European clusters like Pôle Mer PACA and Liguria DLTM, represented
at the meeting; these appeared to offer a number of advantages including significant
partial funding, regional cooperation, and a well established infrastructure for
3.3 Intellectual Property
Since the project is likely to involve a variety of stakeholders from universities and
research institutes, shipping companies, engineering groups, and government
agencies from various countries, it is recommended that legal advisors actively
participate in the design and structuring of the cooperation. Who owns resulting
technology, who has the right to market the technology and where, and who shares
in the profits accruing from the results of the project all need to be made explicit
before strong commitments are made.
3.4 Project flexibility
Scale-up of the magnitude envisioned here brings its own problems and difficulties.
It is likely that future development of an initial discovery will require additional
expertise in a number of disciplines including biochemical engineering, scaleup of production, incorporating new principles of biology (i.e. novel organisms,
combinatorial technology, bioinformatics, synthetic biology, high-throughput
screening, etc.). Structuring rhe project design stahe by stage will allow for the
gradual addition of suitable experts.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Blue Biotechnology for biomedical sectors
Laura Giuliano (CIESM), Milton da Costa (Univ. Coimbra, Portugal),
and Roland Wohlgemuth (Sigma Aldrich, Buchs, Switzerland)
with inputs received during and after the workshop from
Fabrizio Beltrametti (Actygea Srl, Gerenzano, Italy), Frank Oliver Glöckner (Max
Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology,Bremen, Germany), Margarita Kambourova
(BAS- Institute of Microbiology, Sofia, Bulgaria), Immaculada Margarit y Ros (Novartis
Vaccine and Diagnostics, Siena, Italy), Aziza Mouradi (Faculté des Sciences, Kenitra,
Morocco), Michele Pallaoro (Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Siena, Italy), Vasilios
Roussis (Univ. Athens, Greece), Ernesto Mollo and Angelo Fontana (CNR Inst. of
Biomolecular Chemistry, Naples, Italy).
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
1. Rationale
The participants noted that four important stages of development in Blue
Biotechnology should be taken into account:
1. Exploratory stage: Identification of problems and goals, securing funds.
2.Fundamental stage: Basic scientific research in biodiversity/
bioprospecting, identification of compounds and enzymes, biochemical and
chemical research, and bioinformatics.
3.Applied stage: Testing and application of compounds, enzymes and
4.Industrial stage: Scale-up, production and utilization of the end products
of biotechnological research.
They identified important opportunities and perspectives in this particular blue
biotech sector, as well as drivers and barriers (including those related to the legacy
framework) enabling blue biotechnology to become a profitable, highly competitive
sector, and discussed their vision. Here follows a synthesis of their main conclusions.
2. Opportunities
Exploration of the sea and of its biota is still far from completed (1). Although the
oceans contain much greater biodiversity than is found on land, efforts to exploit
this biodiversity by identifying new chemical compounds have hardly begun: at
present, there are some 20,000 marine-derived natural products compared with
more than 155,000 natural, terrestrial products.
The main targets identified are the following:
2.1 Enzymes for industrial purposes
Industrial enzymes with new and emerging applications (technical enzymes,
food enzymes and animal feed enzymes) represent the heart of biotechnology
processes. - Proteases figure amongst the most valuable (technical) commercial
enzymes. They have applications in detergent, pulp and paper manufacturing.
A great challenge shall be to identify and isolate proteases from various marine
biological sources.
Oxydizing enzymes (i.e. laccases) have much biotechnological potential in diverse
fields of industrial application including effluent detoxification, kraft pulp and dye
bleaching, polymer synthesis, cosmetics, bakery, wine and beverage stabilization,
manufacture of anticancer drugs, and as part of biosensor for immunoassays.
These enzymes have frequently been isolated from extremophiles. Extreme marine
environments clearly represent a source for new enzymes.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
New methodological tools to characterize enzymes more efficiently.
Bioactive molecules to “light up” in different parts of the body (based on the
success of recent tests using viruses to detect circulating tumour cells)1,2.
Better cultivation methods to overcome the limits of cloning into heterologous
2.2 Secondary metabolites for fine chemistry and pharma
Despite the growing demand (mainly due to increasing bacterial resistance to
existing drugs), the sector of antibiotic development is facing a crisis in wealthy
nations. This problem adds up to a long-standing one — the scarcity of antibiotics
to treat diseases prevalent in poorer regions. The crisis results from various factors:
economic, regulatory and scientific (loss of expertise in antibiotic development).
These problems are especially acute for small firms that would require a set of
supportive measures to mount a world-class effort at medicinal chemistry and
In parallel with high-throughput technologies (such as combinatorial chemistry
aiming to provide the pharmaceutical industry with the chemical diversity necessary
to significantly increase the therapeutic ratio and potency of active principles),
natural products continue to play a highly significant role in the drug discovery and
development process of new leads (2, 3). The isolation of a constantly increasing
array of novel bioactive secondary metabolites suggests that “we have barely
scratched the surface of nature’s vast chemical library” (3) and especially of the less
explored marine environment (4, 5). In cancer therapy there is an FDA-approved
marine drug in the US Pharmacopeia, namely cytarabine (Cytosar-U®, Depocyt®),
while another marine metabolite, trabectedin (Yondelis®), has been approved by
EMEA, and approval is pending for the US market. Ziconotide, derived from the
toxic peptides of marine gastropods, is on the market with the commercial name
of Prialt from 2004 for the treatment of chronic pain. Furthermore, a number of
other compounds of marine origin is currently in Phase I-III trials, or investigated
preclinically as potential clinical candidates (6).
Even though there are undoubtedly many unique and biologically active marine
natural products waiting to be discovered, new sophisticated strategies are evolving
to fully explore the pharmacological potential of previously isolated natural products.
These include target-oriented bioassays, “in silico” target fishing (7), combinatorial
derivatization and the synthesis of analogues related to pharmacologically active
natural products (8).
Among other novel leads these can be derived from the sustainable exploitation
of the huge “biomass” of invasive species in the Mediterranean, as well as from the
exploration of neglected culturable organisms (i.e. marine protists). A well-balanced
1 Circulating tumour cells detected by a novel adenovirus-mediated system may be a potent
therapeutic marker in gynaecological cancers. Br J Cancer. 2012 Jul 24;107(3):448-54.
2 A simple biological imaging system for detecting viable human circulating tumor cells. J Clin
Invest. 2009 Oct;119(10):3172-81.
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
and strategic network of expertises would increase the potential for new discoveries
targeting high added-value products such as drugs, nutraceuticals, fertilizers, plant
hormones, insect repellents, cosmetics, antifoulants, etc..
New down-stream processing methods to lower cost production
Better cultivation methods. Most microbes are yet unculturable, which makes
the identification and the production of metabolites (and antibiotics in particular)
Cross-sector screening programs for the identification of metabolites of
pharmaceutical interest targeting large microbial collections, and enrichment
cultures of academic institutions.
New classes of antibacterial agents against new microbial targets (f.ex.: enzymes
of pathogen’s core metabolism i.e: topoisomerase, a conformationally flexible
enzyme; enzymes enabling the pathogen to resist hosts’s defences etc.).
Drug analogs
Select novel drug candidates from marine sources
Rediscover (re-evaluate) known metabolites
Exploit waste/hazardous biomass from invasive pests
New target-oriented bioassays
Realistic solution to the supply issue
Definition of biosynthetic pathways committed to bioactive molecules in
Cultures of symbiotic bacteria and associated to invertebrates.
Box 1.
Some successful stories from the sea
The isolation of C-nucleosides from the Caribbean sponge, Cryptotheca
crypta, four decades ago, provided the basis for the synthesis of
cytarabine, the first marine-derived anticancer agent to be developed for
clinical use.
Trabectedin (also known as ecteinascidin 743) is an anti-tumor drug. It
is marketed by under the brand name Yondelis. It is approved for use
in Europe, Russia and South Korea for the treatment of advanced soft
tissue sarcoma. It is also undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of
breast, prostate, and pediatric sarcomas. Trabectedin is a metabolite of
the sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinata.
Ziconotide is the active ingredient of the commercial pain killer Prialt.
Ziconotide is a synthetic derivative of ω-conotoxin, a peptide toxin
produced by Conus magus, a species of cone snail. Prial is used to
alleviate severe chronic pain but is neither an opioid nor a NSAID, these
being the two main classes of analgesics (painkillers). Unlike opioids
prialt does not appear to be addictive or cause respiratory depression.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
2.3. Cosmetics
From its very beginning, the cosmetic industry has developed a firm relationship
with biotechnology - most of cosmetics and beauty aids being composed of
natural extracts from plants or animals. Today, one can find cosmetics having fish
extracts, fruit acids and even products derived (ingredients sourced) from bacteria
(i.e. ectoine, a moisturizer from Halomonas elongata). Marine algae contain antioxidants, pigments and vitamins that are being increasingly used in cosmetic
products. They are also a source of natural, non toxic colours (i.e. orange pigments
from Chlorophyta, blue and red pigments from Rhodophyta). Modern biotechnology
has immensely contributed to the advancement of cosmetic preparation.
Micro-encapsulation, stabilizers (i.e. liposomes, cyclo-dextrines, compatible
Anti-aging (hydrating)
Pigments (colours), sun (UV) screen products
Whitening (compounds that block melanin synthesis)
Treatment of baldness, stopping hair loss/augmenting hair growth (control of
the level of collagen and elastin in the skin)
Bio-surfactants (cleansers, foaming agents, solubilizers)
Emulsifiers (exopolysaccharides produced by marine microorganisms)
2.4. Flavours and fragrances
Biological progress is rapid and now companies are able to produce a variety of
smells and flavors once impossible to make in the lab. The future of flavor production
lies in new metabolic pathways or fermentation methods that might be isolated
from the sea. Several enzymes from marine organisms are certainly responsible for
producing tastes and smell that might be the missing links for food, beverages or
perfumers. This source has not been explored enough to date.
- Identify marine organisms to produce flavors and fragrances quickly and cheaply.
2.5. Adjuvants and stabilizers for vaccines
Prevention of morbidity and mortality by vaccination is considered one of the
most successful achievements in the history of medicine. Nevertheless, even
though vaccines have become safer and more effective in recent years, public
anxiety regarding possible side effects of vaccination has increased. This trend
is supported by often unfounded fears of a link between vaccination and the
development of certain diseases - perpetuated in some cases by misleading media
reports. Consequently, risk benefit decisions need to be well informed and based
on scientific evidence.
New generation vaccines are mainly constituted by highly purified pathogen
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
subunits, like proteins purified from recombinant microorganisms. Despite
being greatly advantageous in terms of safety, purified antigens are often poorly
immunogenic. Therefore, adjuvants are required to trigger higher and more
persistent immune responses. Very few adjuvants are approved for human use,
due to safety concerns and also because many potent adjuvants in pre-clinical
models have failed in clinical trials. Hence the need to identify novel safe molecules
displaying good antigen delivery and immune potentiator properties.
Although there are positive steps in the direction of sustainable development
of pharmaceutical industries, multinational pharmaceutical companies are still
investing much more in development in order to keep ahead of the competition
than in new policies aimed to treat infections endemic in poor regions. Thus, only
the more developed countries may use new vaccines, yet. New options should be
provided so as to help pharmaceutical industries anticipating worldwide society’s
medical needs.
Newer assays to better predict vaccine efficacy and adverse event; development
of better tools to evaluate individual immune responses
Development of vaccines mediating broad coverage against highly variable
pathogens (for instance headless conserved regions of hemmaglutinin against
flu) (9)
New methods to enhance immunological responses.
BOX 2.
Some successful stories from the sea
Glycolipid and glycoprotein antigens using carriers such as keyhole
limpet haemocyanin (KLH) together with a saponin adjuvant, QS-21.
Adjuvants containing squalene (MF59).
Using Archaeal gas vesicles for vaccines: Genetically manipulated
halophilic Archaea may be induced to produce vesicles with any
protein on their surface. The theory is that injecting such gas vesicles
into humans would elicit the production of antibodies to attack the virus
antigens. This would open the possibility of vaccine creation for almost
any disease, even an emerging one. Gas vesicle delivery system would
be unlike anything currently in use and far more versatile.
2.6 Polymers for industrial and biomedical activities
Worldwide attention has been focused on the critical importance of materials in the
creation of new devices and systems. It is now recognized that organic, inorganic,
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
multiphase and composite polymers are often the limiting factor in bringing
a new technical concept to fruition and that polymers are often the materials of
choice in these demanding applications. Particularly, the use of new polymers for
biosystems may lead to solution of complex, interdisciplinary problems, including
environmentally-compatible manufacturing options as well as innovative highly
performing pharmaceutical systems (i.e. diagnostics, therapeutics).
Polymers for biosensors and affinity chromatography
Polymers for drug release and drug carrier systems
Biocompatible polymers and polymer surfaces
Bioabsorbable and biodegradable polymers
Microfabrication and novel processing
Polymers in biotechnology
Biologically engineered polymers
Composites, adhesives, interphases and interfaces
New elastomers, coatings and sealants
Flammability, flame retardants and flame resistants
Polymeric membranes, thin films and nanofilms
Polymeric catalysts
2.7 Phage therapy
Phage cycles in marine environments (i.e. the adsorption phase), can bring new
insights to specific therapies.
2.8 Bioinformatics, gene and enzyme databases
Due to recent advances in the understanding of the structural biology of drug
action, bioinformatics promises to revolutionize the process of drug discovery and
development. One of the main challenges in genomics is to identify the role of
genes and proteins in regulation networks and metabolism.
Furthermore, bioinformatics allows the identification of genes for the potential
synthesis of new chemicals (as well as enzymes) of interest. This allows the
identification of the right samples where to look in for the isolation of genes (and if
possible of microorganisms) for the production of metabolites/ enzymes of interest.
These “academic” samples could be conveniently shared with industry in screening
Unfortunately, most of the knowledge in functional genomics is not directly and
easily retrievable from databases.
New analytical methods to enable an optimized use of the existing data sets
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
(i.e. virtual screening3)
Better insights into protein functions (i.e. exploiting structural data to improve
recognition of domains, and to detect evolutionary relationships between
New tools, i.e. learning algorithms, to extract useful knowledge (texts on gene
interaction, protein localization, and function discovery) from existing literature
Chemical genomics
2.9. Biology of “robustness” (i.e. biochemistry of age-related diseases)
A great challenge is being provided by the study of the biology and the biochemistry
of rare robust (bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans and small aquatic animals
Bdelloid rotifera and Tardigrades) and immortal (medusa Turritopsis nutricula)
organisms in order to understand the limits of life and – eventually – to learn if and
how humans could acquire robustness (resilience and longevity).
Researchers involved in this sector have been solving key questions of
great importance for medicine i.e.: the mechanism of repair of DNA pulverized by
excessive radiation doses (10, 11); the “chemistry of cell death”, which appeared to
be related to protein damages rather than DNA damages. The most recent results
show that biological robustness is achieved by the presence of a protein protection
system against reactive oxygen species (ROS) consisting of small molecular weight
metabolites (12). This research line is based on the assumption that germ line is
practically immortal and soma is usually mortal. It aims towards the exploration of
mechanisms and development of methods for the measurement of the “biological
quality” (fitness) of the soma that, in fine, is the underlying basis of health and
Biology of robustness – search for the molecular basis of resilience in diverse
robust organisms including robust human cells (stem and tumor cells)
Biogerontometry – quantitative measures (by quantification of proteome
oxidation) of real biological age of each individual, i.e., his life expectancy.
Biology of human destiny – biological “profiling” of proteins susceptibility
to oxidative changes (carbonylation) allowing for a targeted individualized
preventive medicine.
Gerontotherapy–applying personalized proteome-protective antioxidants in
relation to individual hereditary predisposition to disease.
3 Producing a plethora of simulated data upon which one may build and demonstrate different
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
3. Improving the collaborative frame
- Facilitate transfer of knowledge (from research to industry)
- Provide (researchers with) access to (industrial) technological facilities and services
- Durable funding instruments for fundamental research (not immediately
considered applicable, i.e. bioprospecting)
- Regulatory requirements and patent incentives to encourage steps forward (i.e. IP
vs. non-exclusive license to practice marketable solutions; IP vs. right to publish)
- Favorable (cost effective) policy from the EPO (i.e. reduce to cost of patent
4. Innovative (policy) solutions
• New ‘players on the scene’, i.e.: Not-for-profit firms which could pursue research
differently, protecting their intellectual property by filing patents, but also
advertising their work openly, with the goal of licensing the intellectual property
gratis to any company or agency that commits to produce and distribute the
resulting drugs on a basis that would serve the needs of patients and society
(for example, distribution in low-income markets could be on a for-cost basis
whereas distribution in wealthy markets could remain for-profit). The profit sector
could provide leadership. Encouraged by tax incentives, the industry could give
sabbaticals to its scientists and executives to work at a not-for-profit firm in
rotation. The majority of the funding for a non-profit firm would probably have to
come from government and foundations.
Tax incentives could encourage the for-profit sector to furnish services in kind
or at cost, including equipment, supplies, chemicals, clinical development, and
regulatory and legal services. Manufacturing could be contracted to factories in
low- and middle-income countries.
• Optimized strategies to help SMEs weather the economic storm by
bringing them together with national biotech industry associations,
venture capitalists, financing bodies, and other stakeholders to
help tackle the financial challenges and constraints facing them.
• (National) product-oriented development and innovation projects shall help poor
countries achieve autonomy in the development and production of relevant
vaccines. This can be carried out by technology transfer agreements for the
local production of new vaccines. Capability of national manufacturers (aimed at
achieving domestic production of new vaccines within the lowest time frame and
at the lowest cost possible), the size of the public market, and the thrust and energy
of the National Immunization Programs can make Third Countries attractive and
become promising markets, and so attract the attention of multinational vaccine
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Marketing opportunities for Jellyfish
Michèle Barbier (CIESM) and Hillel Milo (AquAgro Fund, Israel)
with inputs received during and after the workshop from
Valentina Basilevich (Inst. of High Technologies and Economic Studies, Khabarovsk,
Russia), Torgeir Edvardsen (SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, Trondheim, Norway),
Adi Kellermann (ICES), Alenka Malej (National Institute of Biology, Piran, Slovenia),
Miroslav Radman (Univ. René Descartes, Paris, France), Kiminori Ushida (Eco-Soft
Material Research Unit, RIKEN, Saitama, Japan), Michael Yakimov, CNR-IAMC,
Messina, Italy), Frédéric Briand (CIESM) and Tom Dedeurwaerdere (Univ Leuven,
Rhizostoma pulmo, an edible jellyfish
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
1. Commercialization of jellyfish
1.1 Harvesting and aquaculture alternatives
The experience of Valentina Basilevich who leads a technological laboratory
processing jellyfish in Vladivostok, Russia, provided a very concrete, most useful
start. This laboratory specifically manages the last step of seafood treatment for
human consumption: jellyfish, fish, squids and octopus are processed in a semidried way (as a preservation technique) and used in juices, soup, etc. The average
catch of jellyfish by fishermen is 200,000T/year, which occurs during a very short
period of time (a few months every year). Half of this fishery is processed for human
food, the other half is used as food additive for chicken meal.
The potential of jellyfish process and commercialization naturally raises the
possibility to grow them in aquaculture. Jellyfish are difficult to cultivate as they
present a complex life cycle with a polyp stage that transforms into swimming jellies
under favorable conditions. Their cultivation is under study; in China, the polyp stage
is maintained in aquaculture.
Jellyfish, an important ecosystem component, are proliferating/blooming at a higher
and higher frequency worldwide, which represents a real risk of an ecosystem shift
from a fish to a gelatinous sea (13). Fishing nets and boats are not well adapted for
catching blooms of large jellies. In fact, jellyfish are already caught along the coast
or pushed away, during spring or summer time in many regions and the harvested
jellyfish are thrown away. This biomass should be exploited.
1.2 Challenges in different marketing sectors
The potential of marketing jellyfish in different sectors presents interesting
AgroFood sector – Jellyfish are already exploited for human food (in Russia,
China, Southeast Asia, Japan, Pakistan, etc.), and in some regions as food
additive for animals (14, 15). As an example, the presence of various carbohydrate
and polyunsaturated fatty acids in jellyfish reflect/could answer a real need in
aqua and and agriculture feeding.
For successful jellyfish applications in this sector, many problems have to be
addressed (see Table 1 below) and a roadmap should be drawn up.
Materials sector - Various studies demonstrate that, due to the presence of both
microelements and biopolymers (fibrillin, mucin, collagen, etc) in their bodies,
jellyfish present desirable “plasticity” features. In Russia, these characteristics
were studied for cement fabrication in replacement of costly biological (albumin)
and chemical additives. The inclusion of jellies increases the mechanic strength
of normal cement by 50%. These properties, which could be transferred to the
road asphalting process, add plasticity and resistance to the cement, which is of
importance in regions exposed to seismic risks.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Table 1: Summary of challenges facing potential jellyfish applications
Application 1: Food / Food additives
Classical use in Chinese cuisine.
Recent development as Sushi
stuff in Okinawa in Japan. However, it depends on low labor costs
of poor fishermen in Vietnam or
Thailand. Edible species are restricted.
Application 2: Feed (Domestic
Animal / Fish Culture) Additives
A Secret (?) Spermatozoon of
Attracts Fish (Not Ovum)
Fish feed does not demand dialysis.
Application 3: Fertilizer.
Dialysis is needed before fertilizing. Putting raw jellies cause
Challenge 1: How to take out water water (95-97
Heat Drying Cost
Freeze Drying = high cost
Preservation in salts is employed for food application but useful contents may be lost as well
Challenge 2: How to take out salts (A half of the
Dialysis = high cost
Challenge 3: Cost & Energy for Transportation
Problems in Species Assignment (not easy
even by the experts)
e.g. Rhopilema/ Rhzostoma/ Neopilema
Similar Species are not similar in the nature of
e.g. Edible or Not Edible
Degradative and water soluble, collagens or not
A DNA assignment kit maybe useful.
Problems in storage
Most of the species are self degradable within
one day in ambient temperatures. Both microbes and enzymes of their own seem to affect.
The latter is not suppressed even at low temperatures e.g. -80 °C. Storage under frozen condition is difficult. Preservation of high amount of
jellies may generate other problems, e.g. odor
smell, sanitation.
Application 4: Cement Additives
No problem with salt
No problem with drying system - costs –
possibility to apply crude, homogenised jellyfish
Application 5: Extraction of a
High-Lank Innovative Materials.
(Qniumucin Cost 1g ~ 1 – 5 euros,
collagens 1g ~ 0.1-0.5 euros)
Challenge 5: Balance with the cost for waste
treatment. (Minus cost for application)
Depends on the law in each country. (ex: London
Dumping Convention)
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
1.3 IP issues:
Intellectual property rights represent a crucial component of commercialization.
Participants agreed that a first important step is to assess the need to patent or not
a technology and the commercial benefit or lack thereof. There are cases in which
knowhow provides better protection of time lead in the market, further enhanced by
continuous R&D.
The market segment to which the products are aimed often determines the need
to develop strong IPs. Such markets are nutraceuticals, food additives and pharma
products. When development time and regulatory processes are long, there is a
strong need to protect the market position for the long term; then patents are a
good start.
In some cases where regulatory processes can be costly and long, as for example
the use of jellyfish as additive to cement, these processes provide protection and
significant time lead over the competition.
There is a critical need to harmonize EU regulations with those of the USA on the
subject of publication vs. patenting. In the EU any publication before application for
IP will nullify the IP, while in the USA there is a period of up to 12 months between
publication of an innovation and the application for IP.
As many IP licensing agreements between universities or research institutes and
commercial companies are already in place, lessons from existing successful
agreements should be learned. This will enable the creation of some agreement
models offering various options for different cases.
Box 3.
Recommendations on jellyfish marketing
In case of successful commercialization of jellyfish
the harvest of jellies for processing should be facilitated in coastal waters, particularly before, during
and after the summer season, where increasing jellyfish blooms cause havoc to the tourism industry.
The benefit of their catch should be evaluated considering both their role and threat in the ecosystem;
adapted modus operandi should be proposed to
Short, medium and long-term marketing possibilities for jellyfish should be explored, and a roadmap
designed, for each potential application/ sector of
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
2. Benefits expected from innovative partnerships
During the discussion, the current lack of basic research funding was highlighted.
Within the current (European, national, etc.) R&D funding system, new mechanisms
of funding should be explored so as to avoid bureaucratic process (such as IP
management, lab management, funding report management, etc.). In Europe, the
time now spent by a researcher to manage reports, IP issues, or communication
prevents innovative work and slows down cutting-edge research advances.
2.1 Research Funding – Public and private sectors collaboration for funding
Within a new partnership structure/ concept, IP agreements between universities
and companies should include a part of funding for basic research. It was also
suggested that the concept of doing basic research to obtain potential data for
application could be considered the way around. If possible, new partnership would
start from ongoing/ past successful application funding to be injected into research
on the same topic (on a larger scale) – so as to deepen and strengthen related basic
Another suggestion for innovative funding concerned the concept of an auction
system by which research institutes would present short summaries of their IP in
various areas, and commercial companies would review those and propose terms
for using the IP commercially. With such a system much of the red tape associated
with commercializing IP would be bypassed.
To favor effective exchange among private and public researchers, more business/
management skills should be developed in academia as successfully implemented
by the Magnet program in the USA. Magnet schools are public schools with
specialized courses or curricula. Another approach is to add staff with both scientific
background and strong business development skills to university research labs so
as to help commercialize the resulting IP and focus some of the research on market
2.2 Pilot incubators in Mediterranean Countries.
The purpose of technology incubators is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship
by providing funding and business development along with company building skills.
It was suggested that CIESM could encourage an incubation program for Blue
Biotechnology projects in the Mediterranean Basin. The evaluation process would
be done by independent specialists in each scientific discipline and by people from
the relevant market. The findings would be submitted to an investment committee
for a final decision. Such examples exist in Japan, USA or Israel. In the latter case,
the system involves an investment of $500k per project, where the State provides
85% of the funding and the incubator 15%. The funding is aimed at converting an
idea or concept into a working prototype addressing a true need in the relevant
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
2.3 Communication strategy
Communication, just like business, requires full expertise and skills that are not
usually expected from scientists. It is essential first to define the target so as to
develop the adequate strategy. Scientific basic research data or semi- end-product
presenting an opportunity for application, require the identification of relevant
partners to develop the product/ idea, relevant end-users, who both need adapted
A joint communication strategy should be designed between the university and the
industry for those axes emerging from a partnership.
Box 4.
New partnerships between private and public
Some expectations
To bridge the gap between basic research and business for pre and/or pro competitive research, future
partnerships should not reinvent the wheel, but benefit from existing successful agreements. A set of
different model agreements (see Note on IPs in this
CIESM Report) used successfully in other regions
would be helpful for future development between
academia and industry, EU and non EU countries,
pre and pro competitive research.
New partnerships between private and public sectors would benefit from these existing successful IP
agreement, which should include inter alia: basic research funding, management strategy communication strategy.
A way forward could be the development of Blue
Biotech incubation programs involving co-funding
by EU and concerned entrepreneurs.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Collective intellectual property strategies
for access and benefit sharing over marine genetic
resources in the Mediterranean
Tom Dedeurwaerdere (Univ. Leuven, Belgium)
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
1. Rationale
New methods for culturing marine microbial organisms, molecular biology, and
computational methods for large scale genomic, metagenomic and environmental
data mining hold immense potential for the development of new commercial
applications from marine biodiversity and for understanding basic biochemical
and ecological processes in the marine world. To realize the full potential of large
scale collaborative marine research, rapid and continued access to collected
research materials and to the wealth of related data is needed. However, in the
current situation, many developing and transition countries implement increasingly
restrictive access and benefit sharing legislation, without special exceptions for
pre-competitive access to valuable research resources. On the other hand, in the
developed economies, examples of patenting of upstream and general purpose
research materials and methods continue to generate concerns from developing
and transition countries, who ask to benefit in a fair and equitable manner from
the progress of scientific innovations with marine genetic resources collected under
their jurisdiction or to adopt a common heritage approach for genetic resources
from international waters (16).
In the current legal environment, the range of obstacles to the full realization of the
new opportunities offered by research and innovation with marine resources presents
a formidable challenge. This shows the need for appropriate organizational forms,
legal arrangements and social practices, which can help to better secure the marine
community’s need to address issues of common concern, such as sustainable use
of marine resources, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.
The discussions at the workshop followed a previous exercise lead by CIESM
in 2008 (17). They focused on a set of innovative collective intellectual property
strategies between the various public, private and non-profit partners involved in
basic research, and research and development, with marine genetic resources. Such
strategies could promote innovation, while at the same time contributing to benefit
sharing with source states in mutually agreed manner, through measures such as
sharing in research results or build in research exemptions for source countries
(whether only for non-commercial research, or also for commercial research) in the
case of intellectual property on downstream applications.
Two sets of propositions were presented in the overview of intellectual property
strategies for access and benefit sharing by the author of this note, and discussed
at the workshop:
(1) strategies dealing with pre-competitive access to genetic resources
for use in research and screening of interesting isolates
(2) strategies dealing with collaborative arrangements for commercial
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
2. Strategies dealing with pre-competitive access to genetic
resources for use in research and screening of interesting
Genetic resources collected in the Mediterranean can be claimed as falling under
the national jurisdiction of the coastal states. Increasingly, coastal states are
claiming their rights to share in the benefits of research with these resources under
the Convention of Biological Diversity. On the other hand, many measures for
equitable benefit sharing are quite straightforward, especially in the case of precompetitive access to research resources, such as participation of scientists of
source countries in the collecting missions, sharing of research results and capacity
building. However, a case by case approach of such access and benefit sharing
agreements in the Mediterranean is likely to lead to high transaction (negotiation
and administrative) costs both for public and private research, slowing down the
research process. As a result, the promise of biodiversity-based innovation, and
new research results that can be used in blue biotechnology in particular, might fail
to be realized.
Important steps in the direction of a more coordinated approach for pre-competitive
access to marine genetic resources could be made by the systematic adoption in
marine Mediterranean research of measures that:
For access: introduce standard material transfer agreements (MTAs) for
access to genetic resources within the Mediterranean science community
for the purpose of basic research and screening of isolates and chemical
compounds at the pre-competitive stage of research. The major benefit
of such standard agreements would be to prevent a race to the bottom,
by either providers (who might impose ad hoc restrictions for access) or
users (who might end up blocking access to research results even for the
members of the Mediterranean research community). Such a framework
agreement could learn some lessons from the experience with the standard
MTA adopted for plant genetic resources in the International Treaty for Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which builds a pool of resources
that can all be accessed under the same terms and conditions for research,
breeding and training ;
For use: explicitly give the permission to researchers and collections, for all
uses of genetic resources at the pre-competitive stage of the innovation
process, to redistribute resources to collaborating scientists and farmers, or
to other collections that operate under the same framework agreement (as is
for example the case in the standard MTA adopted by the European Culture
Collection Organisation - ECCO.
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
3. Strategies dealing with collaborative arrangements for
commercial applications
Many agreements for collective intellectual property management in collaborative
research between public and private entities or between private entities exist that
provide for appropriate sharing of benefits or research among the parties to the
agreement and under mutually agreed terms, in the case of the development of
commercial applications from the utilization of genetic resources that are pooled
by these parties. These collective approaches are often neglected in the current
discussions, in spite of extensive experience with these agreements and their
potential contribution both to speeding up innovation and providing tangible
benefits for source countries that would take part in these agreements.
At the workshop, Tom Dedeurwaerdere detailed two such types of arrangements:
(1) Agreements amongst private entities for collective IP management, such
as cross-licence agreements, patent pools, or patent clearing houses ;
(2) Open innovation models for partnerships amongst private and public /
non-profit entities, where each party keeps its own IP, but clear agreements
exist for publication rights and continued access to the research resources
for public/ non-profit scientists policies
Two examples of open innovation models were especially discussed and well
received at the workshop: the University of California at Berkeley – INTEL research
collaboration, and the model agreements used at Universities in Israel.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Further reading
CIESM Workshop Monograph N. 23 - Mare Incognitum? Exploring Mediterranean
deep-sea biology, 2003. 128 p.
Molinski TF, Dalisay DS, Lievens SL and Saludes JP, 2009. Drug development from
marine natural products. Nat. Rev. Drug. Discov., 8: 69-85.
Paterson I and Anderson EA, 2005. The renaissance of natural products as drug
candidates. Science, 310: 451-3.
Glaser KB and Mayer AM, 2009. A renaissance in marine pharmacology: from preclinical curiosity to clinical reality. Biochem. Pharmacol., 78: 440-8.
Blunt JW, Copp BR, Hu W, Munro MHG, Northcote PT and Prinsep MR, 2009. Marine
natural products. Nat. Prod. Rep., 26: 170-244.
Mayer AM, Glaser KB, Cuevas C, Jacobs RS, Kem W, Little RD, McIntosh JM, Newman
DJ, Potts BC and Shuster DE, 2010. The odyssey of marine pharmaceuticals: a current pipeline perspective. Trends Pharmacol. Sci., 31: 255-65.
Jenkins JL, Bender A and Davies JW, 2006. In silico target fishing: Predicting biological targets from chemical structure. Drug Discov. Today, 3: 413-21.
Ortholand JY and Ganesan A., 2004. Natural products and combinatorial chemistry
— back to the future. Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 8: 271-80.
Steel J, Lowen AC, Wang TT, Yondola M., Gao Q, Haye K, Garcia-Sastre A and Palese
P (2010) Influenza virus vaccine based on the conserved hemagglutinin stalk domain mBio 1(1): 1-9.
Zahradka K, Slade D, Bailone A, Sommer S, Averbeck D, Petranovic M, Lindner AB
and Radman M., 2006. Reassembly of shattered chromosomes in Deinococcus radiodurans. Nature, 443(7111): 569-73.
Slade D, Lindner AB, Paul G and Radman M., 2009. Recombination and replication
in DNA repair of heavily irradiated Deinococcus radiodurans. Cell., 136(6): 1044-55.
Krisko A and Radman M., 2010. Protein damage and death by radiation in Escherichia coli and Deinococcus radiodurans. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA., 107(32): 14373-7.
CIESM Workshop Monograph 14 - Gelatinous zooplankton outbreaks: theory and
practice, 2001. 112 p.
Omori M. and Nakan E., 2001. Jellyfish fisheries in southeast Asia, Hydrobiologia,
451: 19-26.
Peggy Hsieh Y-H., Fui-Ming Leong and Jack Rudloe, 2001. Jellyfish as food. Hydrobiologia, 51(1-3): 11-17.
Giuliano L., Barbier M. and Briand F., 2010. Editorial. Microbial. Biotechn., 3(5): 489490.
Glöckner FO, Giuliano L and Bartlett D., 2008. Marine Genomics: “The Interface of
Marine Microbial Ecology and Biotechnological Applications” – Joint EC-US and
CIESM workshop 12-14 October 2008 in Principality of Monaco (ISBN 978-927912136-4; report available online).
Credit photos
Cover: Biotech Consortium India Limited - BCIL
P4: Techno-science, France
P 9: Karyon Biyoteknology, Turkey
P 17: F. Tresca, Italy
P23: Center for Integrated Access Networks – CIAN, USA
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Annex 1
Profiles of seminar’s participants
Patrick Baraona is General Manager of the pole of competitiveness “Mer PACA” in
France. Today the pole gathers 300 members (70% of companies an 30% research
centres) involved in the development of the maritime economy in various fields as:
safety and security, naval and yachting, marine energy resources, marine biology
resources, environment and coastal engineering.
Before becoming managing director of the pole, Patrick Baraona was, from 2001 to
2004, the Chairman and CEO of the Cybernetix group specialised in development
and manufacturing of automatic and robotics systems. Among the founders of this
company, created in 1985, he took successively the position of R&D manager, technical director, engineering director, deputy general manager then between 1994 and
2001 general Manager. During this last period in 1997 he contributed to the inscription of the company on the Paris Stock Exchange. Prior to that from 1983 to 1985 , he
was submarine robotic project manager for the Comex Group in Marseille.
Patrick Baraona holds a PhD in Automatic and Robotic from the LAAS of CNRS at
the Toulouse University (1981) and was hired by INRIA for one year as researcher
in robotic and artificial vision, at the University of Rhodes Island, of Kingston, USA
Michèle Barbier Dechraoui is scientific officer at CIESM. She received her Ph.D. in
Marine Molecular Biology from the University Pierre and Marie Curie, France, 1996.
She worked on the biology (molecular and cellular) of Dinoflagellates in the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico (at NOAA), Atlantic (at IFREMER) to understand Harmful Algal
Blooms. Thereafter she decided to move on scientific management (inter alia, in
Roscoff (CNRS) she managed the EU-FP6 Network of Excellence ‘Marine Genomics
Europe’. At CIESM Headquarters, she focuses on the application of marine sciences
to the fast-growing Mediterranean Biotechnology sector, including the Intellectual
Property Rights
Valentina Bazilevich is Head of the Laboratory Biology of Marine Invertebrates,
Institute of High Technologies and Economic Studies, Pacific State, University of
Economy at Khabarovsk, Russia. Her interest is in technologies of processing the
same Far-Eastern-scifoid jellyfishes just like Mediterranean jellyfishes. Foodstuff
from scifoid jellyfish correspond to tastes of European consumers. Perspective directions concern the technologies for processing jellyfish taking into account their
unique features.
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
Her lab offers the experience of processing of jellyfishes to businessmen, being
guided, first of all, by results of the genetic researches, from jellyfish consumption to
the person. Safe technologies of jellyfish processing are offered.
Fabrizio Beltrametti is Chief executive officer of Actygea Srl. Actygea activity bridges the gap between commercially interesting research at Universities/Research
Centres and industrial activities in biotechnology. Focus is in particular on the application areas, which require know-how of bioprocess technology, microbiology
and biochemistry. Contract research and specialty fermentation/downstream services are offered on fee-for-service or equal base. Actygea’s founders have a long
lasting and documented record of success in the field of metabolites of microbial
origin. Actygea can offer a reliable service in the field of: microbial fermentation,
strain improvement and purification, mutagenesis and selection, gene manipulation, genome shuffling (proprietary technology ActyGenShuff), fermentation medium development (proprietary database ActyMedDat), downstream processing of
metabolites of microbial origin, research in the field of microbiology of uncommon
actynomycetes, strain maintainance, biocatalisys.
Actygea owns pre-GMP fermentation/downstream facilities in a very flexible pilot plant (from shake-flask to pre-industrial scale). With more than fifteen years of
hands-on experience in pharmaceutical and biotech industry, our scientists and
technical staff are highly qualified and bring together competencies ranging from
gene expression and genome shuffling to microbial fermentation and process scale
Actygea was a partner in several projects involving the exploitation of microorganisms isolated from marine environments, as producers of metabolites for the pharmaceutical industry (in particular antibacterial and antifungals). As a general consideration, Actygea is interested in developing every microbial-based process using
organisms of marine origin, per se or as source of genetic information.
Frédéric Briand, is Director General of the Mediterranean Science Commission
Early career in Canada as University Professor, with field studies of marine and lake
communities of north and central America, and pioneering theoretical research on
the rules governing the architecture of both aquatic and terrestrial foodwebs. Followed by positions at IUCN in Europe (Head of Conservation Science), and UNESCO in North Africa (Director of pilot Program on environment and demography).
Author / editor of a number of scientific books, and of noted papers (Nature, Science, PNAS, ...) on food webs, ecosystem resilience, the cybernetics of complex
systems and Mediterranean issues. Founder and Editor of the CIESM Monograph
Series on Marine Sciences (now reaching 40 volumes). Oversees the international
development and science strategy of the Mediterranean Science Commission, with
particular attention to the design of multi-lateral initiatives and cross-sectors cooperation with business and industry. Sits on the Board of various international bodies
and programs (IWC, GESAMP, PTMB, EC projects).
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
Giancarlo Coletta is purchasing Director at the Grimaldi Group in Naples, a completely family owned, multinational company operating in the logistics industry,
specializing in the operations of roll-on/roll-off vessels, car carriers and ferries. It has
specific expertise within the scope of maritime transport, port terminal operations,
land transport companies, shipping agencies..The Group is committed to excellence, social responsibility and transportation solutions that promote environmentally sustainable mobility. The expansion of the Grimaldi Group Naples outside the
Mediterranean market began in 1969, with the start of a scheduled service between
Italy and UK. Today the range of services offered has expanded well beyond the
original boundaries and vessels operated by the “Grimaldi Lines” cover the entire
Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the British Islands, even many
ports in West Africa and South America. Today the Group transports by sea about
1,800,000 vehicles/year with a fleet of over 100 vessels owned and 40 on charter.
The Grimaldi Group also manages some terminals in the port of Antwerp, Cork, Esbjerg, Lagos, and Monfalcone. Palermo, Salerno and Valencia, and is the owner of
the port of Wallam (Sweden).
Conscious of the importance of environmental protection, the Grimaldi Group has
given way to a program to expand its fleet by providing numerous Ro-Ro technologically advanced multipurpose vessels. Regarding its experience in the innovation
processes, Grimaldi has participated in several research projects including SAFENVSHIP, STARSHIP now concluded and participates to project SISPRECODE for environmental friendly marine paints and participate as a consultant to the research
project SISTEMA (System Integrated Secure Land Sea) financed 22.9 million euro
for an integrated ‘land / sea “for passengers and goods to remove the bottleneck
between the last mile to the sea and the first mile to the ground”. Moreover, the Grimaldi also participates in the EU project Handling the Waves, whose object is a decision support system for the management of the ship in adverse weather conditions.
The Grimaldi Group interests in environmental friendly technologies and/or Biotechnologies are relevant to limitation of Ship Emission and pollution. In particular
Air emission (SOx, NOx, CO, CO2, particulate), Water emission (Bback water, grey
water, ballast water, antifouling paints), Waste (garbage, packaging, incineration).
Milton Simões da Costa is full professor at the Department of Life Sciences University of Coimbra, and chair of the Committee Marine Microbiology and Biotechnology at CIESM. He was President of the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (SPM)
from 1996 to 2002 and Vice-President of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) from 2004 to 2007. He is currently President of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS).
Milton da Costa has been active in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Supervised undergraduate research projects, 21 M.S. theses, 13 Ph.D. dissertations as well as postdoctoral research work. His primary research has been devoted
to the study of thermophilic and halophilic bacteria ranging from taxonomy and
systematics, biodiversity, biochemistry of polar lipids of extremophiles, the discovery of new compatible solutes from hyperthermophiles and thermophiles and their
biosynthetic pathways. His lab also works on the molecular ecology of Legionella
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
spp. in natural environments and the evolution of pathogenesis genes in several
species of legionellae. Their work on compatible solute synthesis lead to the finding
of several essential genes and gene products in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Deep
borehole microbiology associated with mineral water sources.
Their research has lead to the submission of four patents and the publication of 141
original research papers and seventeen chapters in English language books. His lab
has received ten European Commission Gants and 22 Portuguese Research Grants.
Mineral water companies have funded research in lab from 1983 to the present. Set
up an ISO accredited lab for the microbiological quality control of water and food at
the BIOCANT Technological Park. For two years this lab has been performing quality control of umbilical cord stem cells for bacteria, viruses and antibiotic sensitivity
tests on the bacterial isolates.
Angelo Fontana is Leader of the Bioprospecting Lab, Institute of Biomolecular
Chemistry, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Pozzuoli – Naples. His research activity is focused on isolation, structure characterization and function elucidation of
bioactive secondary metabolites from marine eukaryotes, with a major emphasis on
invetebrates and microalgae. The research activity involves functional studies (ecophysiological role) and potential application for human wellbeing. Since 1993, major
emphasis is on the biosynthesis of marine secondary metabolites by use of labeled
precursors, purification of key enzymatic activities and molecular techniques. In the
last years, the interest of the research group has been broadened to include the
study of the metabolic pathways related to production of biofuels – mainly bio-oil
and biohydrogen - from marine microalgae and bacteria.
Laura Giuliano is scientific advisor at CIESM. In 1996, she obtained her Ph. D. on
“Distribution and functional characterization of marine bacteria in relation to the hydrological characteristics of the water bodies ». After a post-doc at the National Centre for Biotechnology (GBF, Germany) she worked at the National Research Council
(CNR) in Italy, with various commitments including research and supervision.
She has published 40 scientific articles on peer-reviewed international journals and
several national and international articles (including press articles) for promoting
science across a larger public. She participated to national (EOCUMM, PNRA, CLUSTER-SAM, PON-SABIE) and international projects (BIODEEP, COMMODE, EUROCEANS) mainly with leading responsibilities. She has been member of different
evaluation panels for selecting research proposals to be funded by both national
(CNR-It, MIUR-It, PNEC-Fr) and intergovernmental Commissions (EU FP5, FP6). Between 2003 and 2007, she has been the Italian Ambassador of the International
Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME).
Frank Oliver Glöckner is Head of the Microbial Genomics and Bioinformatics Group
at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen and he is Professor at
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
the Jacobs University Bremen GmbH.
Recent developments in ‘omics’ technologies as well as improvements in sampling
and laboratory equipment have opened a new dimension in research of marine
biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and blue biotechnology. Reflecting the size,
heterogeneity and complexity of the marine ecosystem, an unprecedented amount
of environmental data, biodiversity data, as well as functional and organism-specific
data are already produced or envisaged. This ever growing deluge of electronically
available data needs to be processed, integrated and visualized for in depth analysis by domain experts with respect to a better understanding of evolution, niche adaptations and ecosystems functioning. Furthermore, these data harbour a wealth of
new metabolic processes and functions, with amble potential for biotechnological
applications. It is the focus of the Microbial Genomics and Bioinformatics Research
Group at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen to develop
enabling technologies to transform the wealth of sequence and environmental data
into ecosystem knowledge and new targets for biotechnology. Techniques used
are bioinformatic whole genome and metagenome analysis, binning of sequence
fragments, phylogenetic inference, expression profiling as well as software and database development for integrated data analysis.
His personal interest in attending the workshop “Innovative Partnerships for Blue
Biotechnology development” is to learn more about current developments and
strategies in the field of marine bio- and nanotechnology with a special focus on
the intellectual property issues. The knowledge gained will stimulate further discussions on the exploitation of marine microbial diversity with respect to better ecosystems understanding and biotechnology applications.
David Gutnick is Professor Emeritus in Microbiology, Biotechnology at the Tel-Aviv
University. His laboratory activity is concentrated on linking environmental microbial processes such as bioremediation of pollutants such as crude oil and other petroleum products to the production of novel products such as bioemulsifiers and biosurfactants. The first such product has been the polymeric bioemulsifier emulsan.
Their approach is multidisciplinary incorporating genetics and molecular biology to
modify and improve both the producing strain and the efficacy of the product itself.
In addition, modifications have been introduced to enable the design of efficient
and inexpensive formulations for various applications. The activity of the biopolymer emulsan depends on the presence of a specific protein which is required for
optimal activity. This emulsification ehancing pep[tide (EEP) is unique in its ability
to interact with a variety of water soluble polysaccharides, thereby converting these
into emulsifying biopolymers termed “EEPOSANS”. Eeposans represent a new
class of such products and provide a vehicle for recycling waste polysaccharides
such as cellulose, pectins, etc. The laboratory is now actively involved in defining
and exploiting the essential features of this new EEPOSAN TECHNOLOGY.
In the past his lab showed that polymeric bioemulsifiers can be applied in a variety of oil field applications such as viscosity reduction of heavy fuels and oils for
pipelining, cleaning storage containers, and combustion of stable oil-in-water emulsions, generation of non-toxic degreasing formulations etc. Currently, these appli-
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
cations are being evaluated in large scale field trials in China. In addition, emulsan is
being used by the U.S. Navy in a formulation for the desludging of filters on many
of its ships.
William Helbert is the leader of the group “Structure des Polysaccharides marins”,
Station Biologique de Roscoff, CNRS. Doctor in chemistry (Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France), he spent two years at the Wood Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. He was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
(JSPS) to work on Structural diversity of native cellulose microfibrils. He worked with
NOVO-NORDISK, Bagsvaerd (Danemark) and with ALSTHOM PAPER Co., on cellulose solvents potentials for paper industry. He published 55 publications in international peer-reviewed journal and owns 6 patents.
His interest consists in studying the chemical and three-dimensional structure of
marine polysaccharides in order to understand and “manipulate” their physicochemical and biological properties. His investigations are currently focussed on carrageenans and ulvans which are the main component of red and green algal cell
wall respectively. His research is articulated around two main axes:
1) Analysis of the chemical structure of carrageenans and ulvans using enzymes in
order to decipher complexity and structural diversity of these macromolecules. Enzymes are well-known to represent very useful tools to solve the chemical structure
of complex polysaccharides (e.g. glycosaminoglucans, pectins or starch). He takes
advantage of the availability of enzymes discovered in the laboratory to develop
strategies aiming at determining the composition and, more especially, the distribution of repetition units along the polysaccharides chain.
2) Despite the exponential increase of number of gene sequences by the sequencing of genomes, the discovery of new family and/or catalytic function remains
constant. In this context, he is developing strategies of screening for new polysaccharides degrading enzymes (glycoside hydrolases and polysaccharide lyases) and
polysaccharides modifying enzymes (sylfatases, sulfurylases).
Margarita Kambourova is Head of the Department of Extremophilic Bacteria, Institute of Microbiology (IMikB), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her research fields
• Biodiversity of extremophilic bacteria. The application of the molecular approach
for characterization of the bacterial and archaeal diversity in hot springs.
• Novel microorganisms from extreme habitats. Isolation, morphological, physiological and phylogenetic characterization of novel bacteria.
• Biosynthetic capacity of extremophilic microorganisms to synthesise biotechnologically valuable enzymes. Production of different hydrolases by thermophilic microorganisms: α- and β-amylases, glucosidase, pullulanase, inulinase,
pectinase, xylanase, lipase, protease, gellan-lyase et al.
• Purification and characterization of thermostable enzymes.
• Immobilization of synthesized enzymes and of cell-producers for their more ef-
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
fective application as industrial biocatalysts by entrapment in different gels or
attachment to membranes.
• Investigation on Black sea coastal zone are initiated together with colleagues
from the Central Ecological Laboratory. Structure and function of microbial communities in coastal marine ecosystems under anthropogenic impact. Effect of oil
pollution on bacterial community structure “shift”. Identification of key catabolic
genes in oil-degrading bacterial pathways – potential biomarkers for oil pollution.
Adolf (Adi) Kellermann is the Head of Science Programme in the Secretariat of
the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) since 2004. He is a
biological oceanographer and zoologist by education with diverse research interests. He started his career after his PhD earned from the Kiel University 1985 as a
researcher in Antarctic Waters, working on the early life history of Antarctic Fishes.
He took part in the 1981-91 BIOMASS programme. During a 3-year NSF grant at
the University of Hawai’I at Manoa (1989-91) he extended his research into growth
dependent processes in Antarctic fish early life stages, yielded by daily increments
of embryo and larval otoliths. In 1992, he changed sides and moved into research
management from a position of being coordinator of a research endeavour “Ecosystem Research Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea” which was an ambitioned
7-year venture with more than 40 individual projects. The main objective was to
transfer research into advice for decision and policy-making in Germany’s largest
marine National Park. During that period, he developed the concept for the “Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme TMAP” in the European Wadden Sea
and coordinated its implementation until 2004 as a Senior Scientist. He has written
more than 50 scientific publications including books or book chapters, articles in
peer-reviewed journals as well as articles for the public.
His current activities involve preparing the ICES Annual Science Conference, scientific symposia, cooperation with other IGO’s and overseeing ICES publications and
the about 90 Working Groups under the ICES Science Programme. Since 2010, he
is the coordinator of MARCOM+ (“Towards an Integrated Marine and Maritime Science and Technology Community”).
Willem P.J. Laros is Policy adviser at the Community of European Shipyards’ Associations (CESA) and leads the European Technology Platform WATERBORNE Support Group Secretary..
After graduating as a naval architect from Delft Technical University (1973) he spent
35 years in several technical and commercial management positions in the Dutch
(naval) Shipbuilding Industry. Still active as senior advisor to the Board of the Damen Shipyards Group – one of the bigger European Shipbuilding Companies with
more than 30 yards worldwide – he is Chairman of the R&D working group of the
Community of European Shipyard’s associations (CESA) and Secretary of the European Technology Platform WATERBORNE, the R&D coordination body of the col-
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
lective European Maritime Industry and as such involved in EMAR2RES and MARCOM+ initiatives to further cooperation between the Marine and Maritime Research
and Science Communities.
At numerous occasions he has been instrumental to initiate and kick start R&D projects with the aim to improve shipdesign, -performance and –operation. In our quest
to improve the carbon footprint of maritime transport as well as other forms of emissions many technologies are already available to lower our dependence on fossil
fuels by better use of fuel both in terms of efficiency and cleaner operations. But
more is needed. Here nano technology and bio-mimics can play a ground breaking
role in decreasing viscous resistance, one of the three elements of the ships resistance while it moves through the water and thus in decreasing the required trust
generated by the propulsion plant. Viscous resistance of the ship’s hull surface has
long been considered as very difficult to influence but by smoothing and anti fouling paints.
Alenka Malej is a program director at the Marine Biology Station Piran, National
Institute of Biology and full professor of ecology at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has broad experience in the coordination of national/international research
projects and was head of the Marine Biology Station in Piran for more than two
decades. A. Malej is a member of the Bureau Central de la Commission International pour l’Exploration Scientifique de la Mer Mediterranée (CIESM), chairperson
of the National Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
(IOC) and national MED POL co-ordinator of the UNEP MAP (United Nations Environmental Programme, Mediterranean Action Plan). In 2010 she was nominated as
expert to serve on the Group of experts established pursuant to paragraph 180 of
UN General Assembly resolution 64/71 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. She
acted as a consultant/expert for UNEP/MAP, was visiting scientist/professor at many
renown marine institutions and taught Coastal Zone Management at UNIDO and UNESCO international courses, International MBA Degree Programme, ICPE Ljubljana,
and Joint Study of the universities of Trieste, Italy and Koper, Slovenia.
Her main research interest is marine plankton with focus on the ecology and biology
of gelatinous zooplankton. Current research activities are related to the trophic ecology of gelatinous zooplankton, biogeography of jellyfish (Scyphozoa, Ctenophora),
recurrence of jellyfish blooms and their impacts on marine ecosystem and human
Ernesto Mollo is researcher at the CNR -Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-, “Istituto di Chimica Biomolecolare” in Italy. His expertise includes biomolecular chemistry, marine chemical ecology, and invasion biology. A primary focus of my work
has been the study of bioactive natural products from marine organisms. However,
in addition to the biomedical interest of the metabolites, in which both structures
and organisms often lose their own importance, my researches also aimed at bet-
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
ter understanding the ecological roles of the compounds, and their phyletic and
geographic distribution in nature. Another important part of his activity has been
dedicated in the conduction of diving campaigns for the exploration of the marine
chemical diversity on a global scale. The researches, carried out in the frame of International Research Agreements along the coasts of Spain, Greece, Venezuela,
Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Egypt, Tunisia, Portugal, India, Russia, Australia, Antarctica,
and China, led to the selection of several sources of novel bioactive metabolites.
His current research interests include the development of chemistry based methods and protocols for the assessment of factors affecting marine biological invasions in the Mediterranean Sea. They also deal with the evaluation of possible uses
in biotechnology of undesired biomaterials from invasive pests, to both reduce their
impact on ecosystems and to produce socio-economic outcomes for the coastal
productive community. Moving in this perspective, he is trying to define an articulated research strategy to study the biotechnological potential of exotic species in
many different applicative fields, such as, health, food, agriculture, environment and
fisheries, by crossing the traditional boundaries between academic disciplines.
More recently, he focused his attention on the incorporation of computational
methods in blue biotechnology to increase the pharmacological screening efficiency, to design targeted modifications of specific structures to create new therapeutic
agents, and to prevent the negative effects produced by randomly-guided sampling
activities on the marine environment.
Aziza Mouradi is professor at the « Laboratoire de Biochimie, Biotechnologies et
Environnement », Faculté des Sciences, Université Ibn Tofail, Kenitra, Morocco
Since its independence, Morocco has dedicated lot of energy to the development
of its agriculture. Since 20 years the efforts for marine natural resources valorisation
has been increased.
In 2009, the Halieutis plan for sea products valorisation was published. It plans to
reach an aquaculture production of 200 000 tons in 2020. What could be the contribution of marine biotechnology in this project? In parallel, Morocco is engaged in
a development plan for renewable energy with several wind and solar farms.
The Moroccan Atlantic coast of Sahara is characterized by favourable cultivation
conditions for microalgae:
one of the highest levels of sun irradiation in the world,
Temperatures below 30°C for most of the year.
Marine waters rich in nutrients due to the presence of a coastal upwelling system.
Desert lands along the coast easily convertible to aquaculture.
The development of cultures of microalgae for fuel, biomass, food or feed productions is an opportunity for Morocco.
Although micro algae growth rate is higher than terrestrial plant, there is still a
lot of scientific and technical improvement to be do done to compete with terrestrial crops.
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
Her lab works on: selection of more suitable species, improvement of culture conditions, development of new culture systems, improvement of harvest methods, new
valorisation of the production.
Gokdeniz Neser is assistant professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey.
Turkey with its 8333 km of coastline along four different seas (the Black Sea, the
Marmara Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean) where very rich biodiversity can be seen has a great potential to provide a significant contribution to research on blue biotechnological products and service. In order to benefit from this
magnificent potential, BlUe BiotechnologicaL Products and Service Cluster of Izmir
(BULPS) has been formed. The cluster has been focused on technical or/and engineering use of marine organisms and processes to improve the living standards of
the people and sustainable use of the marine resources. The activities carrying on
by the cluster are:
• Exploring marine resources at the four different seas of Turkey and R&D activities
on their usage in biotechnological production and services.
• Medical, chemistry (marine paints in particular), food and aquaculture industries
and waste treatment plants are the main interest of the cluster.
• Biofuel production from living marine resources (algae in particular) is also covered by cluster’s interest.
The current research in the cluster are as follow:
• Isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites from seaweeds
• Inhibition/activation of medicinally important enzymes via bioactive metabolites from marine living things
• Development of biosorbents by using marine wastes
• Isolation of bioactive metabolites from dead leaves of sea grasses
• Plant growth stimulating agents from seaweeds
• Biofouling and antifouling processes
• Biodiversity
• Microbial community analysis by cultural and molecular techniques inmarines
samples (Community analysis on the black sea sediments)
• Biofilm microorganisms and studies on biofilm removal (especially enzymatically and with quorum quenching mechanisms)
Miroslav Radman is currently exceptional class professor of cell biology at the
Medical School of the Rene Descartes University – Paris-5. Founder and Director
of the Mediterranean Institute of Life Sciences (MedILS (www.medils.hr) in Split,
Croatia. Science adviser to the Prime Minister of Croatia, Member of the French
« Academie des Sciences », Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academia
Europaea, World Academy of Arts and Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).
Recipient of over a dozen major international and national science awards, frequent
keynote or plenary speaker. Over 600 lectures and seminars worldwide. Published
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
about 200 research and review articles in the areas of DNA repair, DNA replication,
mutagenesis, genetic recombination, evolution, microbiology and cancer research.
Average impact factor of research papers in last 5 years is 16.2. Three discoveries
(SOS system, mismatch repair and molecular basis of the genetic barriers between
related species) are present in the basic genetics and molecular biology textbooks
One of his research interests is the biology of robust species. Classical studies of
gene mutations causing functional defects teach nothing about the possibilities of
improving the performances of the “wild type”. Only mutants outperforming the wild
type can teach about possibilities of life’s reinforcement. Bacterium Deinococcus
radiodurans is par excellence such natural “mutant” capable of surviving treatments
that kill most uni- and multi-cellular organisms hundred times over: for instance
extreme exposures to radiation, toxic chemicals and radical dehydration (desiccation). The marine medusa Turritopsis nutricula is another kind of robust organism
because of its apparent immortality.
Recent work of his research group on D. radiodurans and robust Bdelloid rotifers
shows that the extraordinary efficiency for repairing over a thousand DNA doublestrand breaks (DSBs) per cell is not due to evolution of special repair proteins but
results from the evolved general protection of standard DNA repair systems, as well
as all other proteins, against their inactivation by radiation-induced (and other) reactive oxygen species (ROS). Entire proteome is protected, apparently by a cocktail of
ROS-neutralizing metabolites, and acts equally efficiently on E. coli proteome and
human proteins. We have shown that the chemistry of cell death is protein damage,
rather than DNA damage. The impact of these discoveries on the research of aging,
biotechnology, bioremediation, and on public health, will be discussed.
Vassilios Roussis is Director of the Laboratory of Pharmacognosy and Chemistry
of Natural Products, at the University of Athens. The Mediterranean algae biodiversity comprises endemic species as well as recently colonized species, originating
from the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. Economics determine the direction of all
industries today and the algal products industry is no exception. The algal product
industry of today focuses on the farming of edible seaweeds and the production of
fine chemicals and polysaccharide phycocolloids. Macroalgae constitute a promising and easily exploitable source of biomass. Macroalgae can be easily cultivated
without significant cost and without impact on the environment. The cultivation of
the algae can also contribute in the bioremedation of the areas where cultivation
will take place. Algal biomass can be derived from invasive species that have already been introduced in the environment as their eradication is unrealistic.
Processing of the algae biomass includes (1) non polar secondary metabolites for
use in the pharmaceutical industry, food supplements, growth hormones for agriculture, biodiesel and new agents against biofouling; and (2) the remaining biomass
can be used for the production of polysaccharides new chemicals and production
of bio ethanol. There is a pressing need to
• develop new antifouling agents. Invasive algae contain such chemicals that can
replace the toxic and persistent heavy metal complexes that were used for the
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
control of biofouling;
• develop technology for the efficient incorporation of such biodegradable metabolites in nano spheres of copper dioxide that would increase their efficiency
and life span;
• develop new methods for the processing of remaining algal biomass for the production of fine chemicals, bioethanol, biobutanol or other compounds that would
provide new eco friendly energy sources.
Lucio Sabbadini is Manager R&S at the Ligurian regional Marine and Maritime Cluster (DLTM) in Italy. This organization has the scope to support research activities, to
boost the transfer of research results into innovations, to address the educational
path to future technologies.
The blue biotech, on their understanding, have a great potential to give an answer
to some research topics:
- prevention of disease of fish in seawater farming, which affect wild species
- development of natural antifouling
- identification of new/advanced bio-indicators to monitor the environmental condition on critical areas
Following what above, they are considering to be more proactive in the blue biotech field - e.g. supporting research-industry matching events and applied research
projects, etc.
Candan Tamerler is Professor and Chair in the Molecular Biology and Genetics Department and the director of Molecular Biology-Biotechnology and Genetics Research Center in Istanbul Technical University.. She also works at the Genetically
Engineered Materials Science and Engineering Center (NSF-MRSEC), and holds a
long term visiting professor position at the Department of Materials Science and
Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. She has been one of the first
researchers in Molecular Biomimetics, adapting biocombinatorial approaches for
the selection of solid binding peptides, and their implementations in materials science and biotechnology. Candan focuses her research in protein/peptide biotechnology, in recent years; her focus is more on the fundamental understanding of
the bio/nano interface and the practical implementation of the engineered hybrid
materials systems using engineered polypeptides as the major building blocks for
the bio-nanotechnological applications. She continues to serve her expertise in the
post selection engineering of peptides to tailor their structure and function for the
desired materials interactions, and use them as the utility in materials assembly and
Nature provides inspiration for engineering structural and processing design criteria for the fabrication of the practical materials to perform life`s functions. During the last two decades, the realization that nanoscale materials have interesting
physical characteristics based on their nanometer scale size driven the potentials
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
and expectation in both engineering and medical systems. The high organization
observed at the molecular-, nano-, micro and macro scales in biological materials ultimately result in myriad of different soft and hard tissues. Right now, there is an increasing awareness on rather than mimicking these structures, towards producing
them using biological routes. Brick and mortar architecture with layered segmented
aragonite titles of nacre; complex architecture of calcite single crystals in sea urchin;
lens shaped tips of the spicules of sponges with excellent light collection properties; diatoms-microscopic algae with symmetric patterns of micrometric and nanometric pores from light guiding to immobilization/separation processes, surface
adhesion of mussels, barnacles, sea stars, toxins as pharmacological agents are
among the attractive examples with technological relevance. In the recent years,
bold novel approaches with transformative character started to appear in marine
science, and these may revolutionize the use of marine resources. Undiscovered
diversity addressed with a wide range of opportunities possibly will launch new
platforms where the new genes, new biological components, new hybrid systems
will forefront the need of biobased approaches applicable to bio- and nanotechnologies. The complexity, and largely unexplored aspect of this area require fully
integrated interdisciplinary teams to work together to face the challenges and make
opportunities achievable.
Kiminori Ushida is Senior Research Scientist at the Supramolecular Science Laboratory, RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) in Japan.
His lab recently founds a novel mucin which is common in various species of jellyfish and structral analysis has been almost completed. This mucin, different from
conventional ones taken from mamamilans, has exceptionally simple structure and
low glycoforms and therefore can be utilaized as well-defined mucin source in an
industrial scale. Mucins are entirely important for every animal including human but
have not been provided as single material suitable for general application. His lab
would like to open up “mucin chemistry” where they can get designer mucins as
our own will from this jellyfish mucin. Now he is very interested in the extraction of
extracellular substance from jellyfishes some or which may very useful as substitution of our own extracellular substance.
He provided an interesting movie showing a fight of set-net fishermen with mass
occurrence (>5000) of giant jellyfish (>100kg) that happens everyday for small fishing company in autumn giving high social, economical, and emotional damage to
fishermen and their community.
Maria (Maro) Varvate is co-founder and Managing Director of OceanFinanceMarine Intelligence Consultants. She holds a Diploma and Master of Engineering
(2002) in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the National Technical
University of Athens, a Master in Corporate Finance (2004) from the SDA Bocconi,
Milano and a Master in Business Administration (2007) from the Athens University
of Economics and Business.
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
In 2006, the R&D oriented consulting company OceanFinance was established with
the aim to provide the shipping market with advanced methodologies of financial
engineering and consulting in green transportation solutions. Her main responsibilities in the company are the implementation of feasibility studies for new-technology projects as well as the application of key performance indicators methodologies
for corporate performance measurement in shipping.
OceanFinance is the exclusive R&D provider of a number of leading shipping and
trading companies on a worldwide basis. In this capacity, it has collaborated extensively with the Laboratory for Maritime Transport of the NTUA in a number of
cooperative European projects providing market knowledge and end-user feedback
on the application of the respective research methodologies (i.e. SuperGreen, Envishipping et al). Finally, the company invested - through a Joint Venture - in the
project Adriatic Lines (Marco Polo II awarded) aiming to shift over the first 3 years,
1.111,6 million tons km from EU road and reduce the transit time of freight for the East
European (mostly Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Balkans) with West European Markets.
Wojciech Wawrzynski is Professional Secretary for scientific cooperation at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Copenhagen, Denmark.
His background is in economics and science management and his major fields of
research are efficiency of various financial mechanisms for the European Research
Area and science communication. Formerly Head of the Coordination and Promotion of Research Unit at the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, Poland, he is currently
manager of the MARCOM+ EU Project.
Roland Wohlgemuth is researcher at Sigma-Aldrich. Marine microbes in seawater and their complex metabolic processes are involved in global carbon, nitrogen,
oxygen and phosphorus cycles and essential for the mainte-nance of ocean life.
It is therefore of fundamental interest to understand primary bio-mass production
in the oceans, light harvesting and carbon fixation, primary recycling of waste/nutrients. Only 0.1% of the microbes in seawater have been estimated to be cultivable. Metagenome approaches have proven extremely useful for the exploration of
microbial biodiversity in marine environments. Functional approaches for the exploration of C 1-chemistry is both of fundamental, applied and practical interest.
Once the feasibility of a biocatalytic reaction or a sequence of multistep biocatalytic
reactions have been proven, up- and downscaling experiments have been useful for
engineering the most adequate process design. Spatial and temporal organisation
of biocatalysts, reactands or products is another interesting engineering option for
biocatalytic process design. Communication across scientific and technological disci-plines including the value creation perspective is important for the development
of the final marine product-in-the-bottle. Whether the successful problem solution
will come from marine sciences, biology, chemistry or engineering, progress in the
un-derstanding of the molecular mechanisms of enzyme action will be key for the
further development of the science of synthesis, marine metabolic pathways and
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
life on our planet in the 21st century.
Michail M. Yakimov is Head of Laboratory of Marine Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at the Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC-CNR, Messina,
Italy) and more than 15 years is working in the field of marine petroleum microbiology. He is pioneering the isolation and study of obligate marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria and discovered several new genera: Alcanivorax, Oleiphilus, Oleispira,
Thalassolituus. In the frame of past and ongoing EC Projects, Yakimov’s Lab characterised the petroleum-degrading microbial communities, performed the sequencing
and functional analysis of their genomes, studied their proteome response to the
number of environmental stimuli, and characterised the crude-oil induced proteins
and enzymes in a number of marine environments including deep-sea. Importantly,
together with University of Bangor Yakimov’s Lab have completed the genome sequencing and functional analysis on the psychrophilic oil degrader Oleispira antarctica which appears to be an important member in the deep-sea oil degrading microbial community in the Gulf of Mexico (Science, 2010, 330 (6001): 204-208. During
the Workshop, Dr. Michail M. Yakimov will present the recent achievements in the
field of marine petroleum microbiology including the data on in situ bioremediation
experiments oriented to cleanup the sediments heavily contaminated with aliphatic
and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.
CIESM Marine Policy Series n°1
This volume has been realized with the support of the MARCOM-EU (CSA) Project (244060)
Printed in Italy - January 2013
New Partnerships for Blue Biotechnology Development
The Mediterranean
Science Commission
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