Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia


   Infocentre

Published: 4 November 2016  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodMarine resources & aquaculture
Bioeconomy
EnvironmentEcosystems, incl. land, inland waters, marine
Industrial research
Research policySeventh Framework Programme
Science in societyPublic opinion
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  Denmark  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Iceland  |  Ireland  |  Italy  |  Macedonia - former Yugoslav Republic  |  Monaco  |  Netherlands  |  Spain  |  Switzerland  |  Turkey  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Tools to help tap valuable marine microbial molecules

Marine microorganism data from anywhere in the world is now easier to access. The EU-funded project that made this possible also developed the research infrastructure and legal framework necessary for industry to fully tap the potential of microbial life in the oceans.

Photo of a life preserver

© taesmileland - fotoloia.com

The project, called MICRO B3, has created a global snapshot of marine microbes and developed new tools to help scientists better understand marine microbial diversity. These tools include computational simulations to help identify new active compounds, alternative techniques to sample DNA and an interactive map of marine microbes around the world.

Understanding marine microorganisms

The results could benefit the healthcare, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, which are just a few of the sectors eager to take advantage of value-added molecules derived from the sea. For example, the harsh marine environment could yield hardy ingredients capable of surviving extreme industrial processes.

While marine microorganisms such as bacteria are seen as an untapped resource of biotechnological potential, accessing these molecules had however proved until now to be costly and difficult.

“Despite the importance of these marine microbes, knowledge about their diversity and their potential usefulness to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries has been limited,” explains MICRO B3 project coordinator Frank Oliver Glöckner from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany.

“A key part of this project has been to mobilise the global marine research community in order to obtain ocean samples and share data. Our success in this respect has been largely due to the engagement of a network of over 150 marine sites, who all contributed their samples and expertise. The final conference in Brussels (in November 2015) targeted policy makers and industry leaders, in order to promote uptake of the novel technologies we’ve developed to access marine knowledge.”

Tapping the ocean’s wealth

Project partners were able to sequence DNA from a diverse range of these microbial samples, helping researchers to assess the diversity of marine microbial life and also identify promising enzymes for industrial use. New tools to integrate genomic, environmental and ecological data were used to make these selections more accurate, and to help scientists determine the potential functions of unknown genes found in marine microbes.

This information was then made available through various existing databases that the project linked together to facilitate information sharing. “Scientific cooperation will contribute towards better predicting, managing and mitigating future changes in the ocean,” says Glöckner. “In addition, diverse results from, say, genome mining for anti-tumour compounds are becoming available.”

Operating procedures and standards were also established. This will allow for marine data to be collected in an orchestrated way, consistent with national and international legal commitments. “These standards are expected to support marine microbial biotechnology for industrial applications in the near future,” says Glöckner.

Growing public awareness

In addition to better connecting marine researchers and boosting industrial potential, the MICRO B3 project has also sought to raise public awareness about the role that marine microbes play. A sampling kit for microbes and an accompanying smartphone app have been developed, and users can upload their data onto an interactive global map.

“We wanted to further the general understanding of the diverse roles of microbes in our changing oceans and create a new kind of communication culture in marine science, through the free exchange of data,” explains Glöckner. The MICRO B3 project was officially completed in December 2015.

Project details

  • Project acronym: MICRO B3
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), Spain, Greece, France, Italy, UK, Belgium, Turkey, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Monaco, Switzerland, Iceland, FYROM,
  • Project N°: 287589
  • Total costs: € 11 496 409
  • EU contribution: € 8 987 491
  • Duration: January 2012 - December 2015

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project details






  Top   Research Information Center
 
Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia