THE PILOT UNIT OF ICSN - EXCELLENCE IN THE FIELD OF BIOACTIVE MICROBIAL SECONDARY METABOLITES

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TASCMAR is a collaborative research project funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme and aspires to develop new tools and strategies to overcome existing bottlenecks in the discovery and application of marine-derived biomolecules, with a focus on the theme of anti-ageing.

 

From exploring the possibility for new medical drugs without harmful side effects, nutraceuticals (e.g. dietary supplements) and cosmetic products to developing technologies for bioremediation, TASCMAR will investigate the potential of the underutilized mesophotic zone of the ocean (between 30 and 100 meters depth) and will develop innovative approaches for the cultivation and extraction of marine invertebrates and symbionts from lab to pilot-scale.

 

TASCMAR is part of the EU Blue Growth Strategy, aiming to unlock the potential of seas, oceans and coasts for sustainable growth. The project will be closely monitored for its socio-economic and environmental impacts so as to ensure sustainability while promoting economic growth.

 

Objective 1 - Exploration

Exploring neglected and underutilized marine species (NUS) from the underexploited mesophotic zone: In addition to sponges and soft corals, anemones and echinoderms are considered key target invertebrates in TASCMAR. These organisms will be evaluated together with their symbionts. The explored marine area will include the under-investigated Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs, 30-100 m depth).

Objective 2 - Cultivation

Exploitation of innovative cultivation technologies: Two innovative technologies developed by TASCMAR partners will be implemented – integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), for marine invertebrates and solid-state fermentation based on Platotex™ technology, for marine symbionts. The proofs of concept have been developed and demonstrated for both technologies and working prototypes are already up and running in TASCMAR shared facilities.

Objective 3 - Extraction

Exploitation of high-tech extraction technologies: High-pressure static extraction (Zippertex™ technology), sub-critical water extraction and solid-solid extraction will be implemented in TASCMAR. Proofs of concepts have been developed and demonstrated and working prototypes are already available in TASCMAR shared facilities.

Objective 4 - Discovery

Exploitation of cutting edge molecular isolation and identification technologies: Accelerated and efficient discovery of novel bioactive compounds will be applied through an integrated state-of-the-art and high-throughput technological platform incorporating hyphenated analytical and spectroscopic methods, metabolomics, and dereplication procedures.

Objective 5 - Libraries

Building seven unique libraries of marine organism, extracts and biomolecules: TASCMAR will build and manage two invertebrate collections as well as two microorganism collections, one extracts library, one library for isolated identified compounds, and one library for biocatalysts.

Objective 6 - Anti-ageing

Discovering novel metabolites with anti-ageing activity: Extracts and/or pure compounds produced during TASCMAR will be evaluated using cell-free, human cells-based, in-ovo and in-vivo screening platforms, for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications.

Objective 7 - Biocatalysts

Developing new biocatalysts from mesophotic microorganisms: The bio-catalytic capabilities of symbionts from mesophotic invertebrates will be screened on target substrates and key reactions. Relevant enzymes will be isolated and developed as specific biocatalysts.

Objective 8 - Valorisation

Engaging a comprehensive industrial valorisation scheme: The project outputs will be exploited in a diverse range of industrial sectors:

  1. industrial equipment,
  2. drug discovery,
  3. nutraceuticals,
  4. cosmeceuticals
  5. enzymes and microorganisms for bioremediation
Objective 9 - Sustainability

Engaging green and responsible growth driving economic performance: The activities in the project will be continuously evaluated for their socio–economic and environmental impacts to ensure sustainable growth.

 

 


 
 
 

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