Press Release
Jul 1, 2022
How is biotechnology used with marine life?

Marine biotechnology is hugely important when we consider the notion that life started in the sea. Our planet’s surface is mostly ocean containing the most diverse and ancient forms of life, some of which probably remain unknown to humankind. From bacteria to unique chemical compounds, our oceans are full of biological elements which are hugely important to medicine, nutrition, agriculture and other industries benefitting human life. Marine biotechnology, sometimes also known as blue biotechnology, is a real area of unexplored opportunity for biotechnology companies. 

Marine organisms are used in the processes of marine biotechnology that explore the development of potentially crucial pharmaceutical medicines which can have a long-term effect on antimicrobial resistance. Aquaculture, seafood safety and biofuel advancements are also areas of interest in marine biotechnology.

There are many examples of the successes in marine biotechnology even though it’s one of the latest technologies to emerge. Successes include:

Ziconotide from cone snails to provide pain relief to those suffering from cancer, aids or neuropathic pain when classic painkillers are insufficient. It is reported to be fifty to several thousand times more powerful than morphine.
Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) from jellyfish as a reporter protein using their glowing marker to track movements, positions and interactions of proteins. 
Turbines that mimic tubercles found on humpback whales flippers which create vortices helping large cetaceans maintain lift as they cut through the sea. Adding similar ridges to wind turbine blades can increase annual electrical production for wind farms by 20%.
Seaweed in cosmetic products with benefits for the skin on the face and body, usually sustainably sourced in an aquaculture facility. 
Macroalgae in medical applications is one of the fastest growing sections of the market given the rise in antimicrobial resistance, development of new resistance is crucial and interest has grown in marine algae and the potential opportunities it presents.
When we consider the amazing strides forward in success for blue biotechnology already achieved, imagine the possibilities with further advancements. 

Smithers previously reported the opportunity for the sector: “The potential of marine biotechnology to contribute to key societal challenges of sustainable food security, sustainable energy security, environmental health, human health and wellbeing, as well as the greening of industrial products and processes, provides a strong driver for the sector. This is sustained by the recent advances in science and technology; in particular post-genomic technology, which has increased our knowledge and understanding of marine resources. Furthermore, the inventory of marine natural products and genes of commercial interest has grown rapidly in recent years as a result of efforts in bioprospecting.”

There are significant costs to exploring this type of biotechnology in much more detail as well as technological limitations when you consider the discovery processes. The sector also currently maintains a low profile so has suffered from under-funding. 

With projects like National Marine Week from The Wildlife Trusts (24th July-8th August), promoting the protection and varied biodiversity of our oceans, we hope exposure from these valuable campaigns serves more knowledge, research, understanding to marine biotechnology and how its future can benefit the planet and all who live here.

If you’re looking for support as a biotechnology company, then check out our services or give us a call, we’d be happy to chat. 

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